Microsoft says it won't oppose Activision Blizzard union

Microsoft says it won't oppose Activision Blizzard union

Tech giant Microsoft has said that it will not block the formation of a union at Activision Blizzard.

As reported by The Washington Post, CVP and general counsel Lisa Tanzi said that the Big M "will not stand in the way" of a union at Activision Blizzard.

"Microsoft respects Activision Blizzard employees’ right to choose whether to be represented by a labour organisation and we will honour those decisions,” she said.

This comes in the wake of staff at the Call of Duty giant's Raven Software studio announcing its intention to form the Game Workers Alliance union. Employees attempted to get recognition from Activision Blizzard, but with that not coming they decided to unionise without official acknowledgement. As a result, it's very possible that there will be a workers union at Activision Blizzard by the time Microsoft completes its $68.7 billion acquisition of the firm in 2023.

This also follows 15 members of Raven staff writing a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and vice chair and president Brad Smith requesting they encourage Activision Blizzard to recognise Game Workers Alliance.

The letter also takes aim at the lawfirm Activision Blizzard has hired to handle potential union formation, Reed Smith, whose work has included a Powerpoint presentation with the slide 'Types of Employees Unions Exploit'. Raven Software staff have described this as "demeaning and insulting" to members of staff looking to improve their working situation.

Responding to this revelation, Reed Smith's director of corporate comms Phil McGowan said: “The content of this presentation was created for a workshop in 2013 by lawyers who no longer work at the firm. It does not reflect the way our firm thinks about the rights of employees and employers. These slides have no bearing on the pending CWA representation petition, and were not prepared or used by the lawyers representing Activision Blizzard.”

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.