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Season 5, Episode 65

Video game QA workers at Activision have successfully joined the CWA



Guest Name:

Andrew Snell

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Andrew Snell, Organizing Committee Member for the newly formed Activision Quality Assurance United-Communication Workers of America (AQAU-CWA) — a part of the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE-CWA) —  joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss how Quality Assurance Workers at Activision became the largest group of union-represented workers in any U.S. game studio. Snell, a QA tester, also discussed some workplace issues and what this organizing victory could mean for unions and the tech industry.

Recently, Microsoft announced that it agreed to a neutrality agreement with the CWA, which covers all of their properties, including studios like Activision. As a result, the CWA recently announced a successful organizing campaign for over 600 Quality Assurance workers at Activision. Snell talked about the beginning of organizing efforts in May 2023, before Activision was acquired by Microsoft in October 2023. Once the acquisition was made, they were required to restart the organizing campaign, and he discussed differences in organizing efforts under the neutrality agreement.

For the newly formed AQAU-CWA, there are a lot of issues they would like to see resolved in the first contract. Beyond wages and benefit improvements, Snell discussed a desire for workers to either become more flexible in their projects or choose to become specialized in the type of work they perform. Overall, the biggest issue for workers in the tech industry is retention. Snell discussed how the industry has struggled to maintain a constant workforce, as workers are looking for career security.

Snell believes this is a first step in bringing unions into the gaming industry. While there is a perception that it is not a conventional industry, he talked about the need for worker protection in all roles within the industry. Snell hopes the organizing success at Activision and Microsoft will open doors at studios across the industry.

Listen to the episode above to hear more from Snell on the organizing victory at Activision.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

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