Activision Blizzard to convert 1,100 game testers into full-time employees
Activision Blizzard, a video game giant that's been embroiled in controversy for quite some time now, is converting about 1,100 temporary or contracted quality assurance (QA) workers to full-time employees.
The conversion: While the move is seen as positive for some, there are other details that may paint a different picture.
- The Call of Duty and Overwatch developer is addressing years of criticism surrounding its typical reliance on part-time employees.
- Around 1,100 of the temporary or part-time QA workers that the company employs in the United States will be offered full-time employment, as first reported by Bloomberg.
- The workers will be eligible for company benefits through the hiring and their minimum salary will rise to $20 per hour. The move will increase the headcount of the company's publishing arm by 25%.
The controversy: Not all that glitters is gold.
- In December 2021, Activision Blizzard converted the roles of 500 temporary workers to full-time positions, though it also terminated 20 contracts.
- Those cuts caused backlash which resulted in a push for unionization from QA testers at Raven Software, a studio that's owned by Activision Blizzard which is responsible for the Call of Duty franchise. The company wasn't willing to recognise the union.
- Now, Raven staff won't receive the new payment standards that the 1,100 new full-time employees are subject to due to "legal obligations under the National Labor Relations Act," as the National Labor Relations Board is yet to issue a ruling on the dispute.
- Some industry figures and social media users see this as a tactic to undermine and degrade the unionization effort, only adding to their distaste of Activision Blizzard following numerous allegations and lawsuits regarding misconduct in the workplace.
- Sara Steffens, who's representing Raven in its work towards a union as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Communications Workers of America, said that the exclusion is "especially galling" as QA testers have been "at the forefront of this effort."