Raven Software successfully managed to unionize despite the ActiBlizz union busting efforts. What are your thoughts?


Raven QA has unionized and been recognized by the NLRB but their work is not yet done. They’ve won the election, which is a big step for sure, but one big challenge still remains - the actual bargaining. They need to negotiate a working contract with Activision-Blizzard which will necessarily determine what rights that union workers will have within the working relationship. A union doesn’t mean much if the contract they negotiate doesn’t set good terms for them. Any contract will set the rules of engagement from here on and will need to encompass topics like pay scale, working hours, overtime,  hiring practices, firing practices, future negotiations, penalties for breaking the contract, rules for administrating misbehavior on either side, health care benefits, profit sharing, and so on. Anything that isn’t specifically written into the contract is at the discretion of either side and can be removed at any time. 


Beyond this, the union must also create its own charter and set of bylaws - who can join the union, how much the union dues cost, what the union can do with the money, who the union reps are, who the union leaders are, how to select those union leaders and reps, how the union will decide to make its decisions (e.g. voting procedures), how the union will amend its own bylaws, and so on. Remember, a union is not a silver bullet cure-all solution that fixes problems simply by existing. A union is an organization comprised of workers that has the power to negotiate on behalf of its members. Like any organization, it has power that can be used to the members’ benefits and power that can be abused. The union needs to set itself up in such a way that it uses its negotiating power and gets a good contract for its members. The union needs to enact protections for vulnerable members, as well as enact safeguards in case bad actors somehow get elected into union leadership positions down the road.


Winning the union election, while a momentous situation, is not the end of the end, nor even the beginning of the end. It is, however, probably the end of the beginning.

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