CODE-CWA Newsletter: August 5
CODE-CWA Newsletter: August 5
“Forming a union is an act of care, for ourselves and those who work with us.” - Meow Wolf Workers Collective/CWA
This week, workers at immersive art company Meow Wolf in Denver voted in favor of joining the Meow Wolf Workers Collective/ CWA. The workers will be split into two bargaining units: one for security staff and another for operations workers.
It has been a year since Activision Blizzard was sued by the state of California for discrimination and “frat boy culture”. Since then there have been multiple walkouts, protests and calls to organize. The latest was for better reproductive and gender protections following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. And because moving the company has been proven difficult, we foresee many more actions in the near future. When QA testers at Raven studios won their union, Microsoft agreed to remain neutral regarding unionization once it acquired the company, and Activision Blizzard agreed to work with the union. But now that another group of QA testers at Blizzard Albany want to unionize, Activision has once again refused to voluntarily recognize the union. The company is using the same sorry excuse as before and they’ve hired the same union- busting firm from the Raven election.
Corporations like Activision illustrate how organizing requires a lot of hard work and most of the time it is not easy. However, it can work. The fight to organize will not only benefit your colleagues , but it will make it easier for all those who try to organize after you. QA testers at Blizzard Albany were inspired by their counterparts at Raven studios. Employees at Apple were inspired by the union drives at the Amazon warehouses. Starbucks also saw a wave of unionization at their stores after the first store won, with over 100 stores currently unionized. Remember your fight is for more than just yourself. No matter how big or small, it counts. Organize! Reach out!
On Sunday August 7th join us for an organizer training at 10 AM PST where we talk about union basics, the CWA organizing models, and some key ways to connect with co-workers through organizing. And on Saturday August 13th, join us for a building the committee training at 12 PM PST where we talk about how to build a strong organizing committee. Check the CODE-CWA organizer training program for upcoming classes!
Video Game Testers at Blizzard Albany Seek to Unionize
Quality assurance testers at Blizzard Albany are trying to unionize. If successful they will form the Albany Game Workers Alliance with CWA. The QA testers make up around 10% of the studio and are forming a union to increase wages, benefits and to improve job security. Many people are eager to get into the video game industry which can be used as leverage against employees — especially in the case of QA testers who typically have annual contracts where they have to ask to be rehired every year. As Amanda Laven, an associate test analyst and member of the union organizing committee said “Unfortunately, that passion is weaponized and used to exploit people. “ The union drive at Blizzard Albany follows a successful unionization drive at Raven studios — a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard. The QA testers are hoping that after they successfully win their supermajority union, the rest of Blizzard Albany will see the benefits and follow suit. Read more here
Meow Wolf Denver Workers Celebrate Quick Union Approval
Workers at Meow Wolf Denver's Convergence Station won their fight for recognition via card check. This win brings 205 new members after 8 months of hard work. The employees will be represented by the Meow Wolf Workers Collective under the Communications Worker of America, and will be split into 2 unions: one for security workers and one for operational workers. This is not the first union effort at Meow Wolf, but the current union drive was very different. As lead organizer Milagro Padilla explains, “It was handled much faster this time and it felt more collaborative. I know the employees and everybody are really, really happy with the decision Meow Wolf has made.” This union win comes on the heels of wage and benefit wins in Santa Fe by the original Meow Wolf workers’ union. Read more here
Activision Blizzard Workers Keep Fighting for a Seat at the Table
It’s been one year since the harassment lawsuit that rocked the games industry. Employees say the company hasn’t changed enough. Activision Blizzard workers are fighting across the country for better rights, and a seat at the table. The employees from New York, California, Texas, and Minnesota arranged walkouts largely in response to the series of changes happening in America— such as the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The workers timed the walkouts to coincide with a year since the state of California filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for discrimination and harassment at the company. “What about your employees who have health concerns? What about your employees who have their civil rights taken away?” “We need to make sure that we’re protecting people physically and mentally,” said Jessica Gonzalez, a former Activision Blizzard worker and CODE-CWA organizer. Besides the walkouts Quality Assurance workers at Raven studios— a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard— formed the first union in a AAA video game company in North America. Due to their success, QA testers at Blizzard Albany joining the fight to win recognition of their union. Read more on Wired
Diablo Devs Say Activision Back To Its Old ‘Union-Busting’ Tricks
“Instead of following Microsoft’s lead and committing to a labor neutrality agreement, Activision has made the clear and conscious decision to deny us our basic labor rights while once again spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a union-busting firm,” said Albany Game Workers Alliance. QA workers at Blizzard Albany are pushing to win their supermajority union following the successful union drive by QA employees in Wisconsin. The QA team at Blizzard Albany were hoping the company would remain neutral and follow the actions of Microsoft, who are planning to acquire Activision Blizzard. However, the company decided to re-hire union busting law firm Reed Smith to try and deny the QA group’s right to unionize. Although the company has not commented on their decision to hire the union busting law firm, they have stated that they plan to include the whole studio in the union vote. This is the same tactic that Activision Blizzard employed when the QA team at Raven studios tried to unionize. Read more here
This Week in History
AUGUST 6 2011 – Some 45,000 CWA and IBEW-represented workers at Verizon begin what is to be a two-week strike, refusing to accept more than 100 concession demands by the telecommunications giant.
AUGUST 7 1894 – Eugene Debs and three other trade unionists arrested after Pullman Strike.
August 7 1983 – Some 675,000 employees struck AT&T Corp. over wages, job security, pension plan changes and better health insurance. It was the last time CWA negotiated at one table for all its Bell System members: divestiture came a few months later. The strike was won after 22 days.
Song of the Week
We don't want your laws
So take 'em back right now
They're bullshit any how
It's time we had our say
The injustice cannot stay
They stabbed us in the back
And you can feel it bleeding if your heart's beating now
So let's hear your voice
Or we won't have a choice
Haven't we had enough today
Rebellion on Ice
But we'll pay the price
Don't let our freedoms fade away!
Activision Blizzard Continues to Ignore Labor Law by Illegally Surveilling Workers and Shutting Down Protected Speech