About 600 Workers Unionize at Microsoft-Owned Activision

About 600 workers at Activision Publishing, the video game maker owned by Microsoft, are unionizing, forming the largest video game workers’ union in the United States, the Communications Workers of America said on Friday. Microsoft recognized the union after the vote count was finalized.

The employees work in quality assurance, testing Activision’s games for bugs, glitches and other defects, and 390 of them voted to form a union, while eight opposed the effort, the union said. About 200 workers did not vote.

Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard, the maker of Call of Duty and other blockbusters, for $69 billion in October. As part of its lengthy effort to convince regulators to approve the deal, Microsoft signed a first-of-its-kind pact in the industry to remain neutral if workers wanted to unionize with the C.W.A.

Managers were trained not to express an opinion about whether unionization was good or bad, and the C.W.A. said Activision’s management upheld the pact and did not interfere in the workers’ organizing efforts.

“That has been, organizing-wise, a huge blessing,” said Kara Fannon, a member of the union organizing committee who works for Activision near Minneapolis. “It has helped with a lot of people who were concerned about union busting or potential retaliation.”

The new union is the first at Activision since the pact went into effect.

“Microsoft’s choice will strengthen its corporate culture and ability to serve its customers and should serve as a model for the industry,” C.W.A.’s president, Claude Cummings Jr., said in a statement.

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