Microsoft enters labour neutrality agreement with CWA

Microsoft enters labour neutrality agreement with CWA

Tech and games giant Microsoft has entered into a labour neutrality agreement with the Communication Workers of America (CWA) union.

Revealed on the latter's website, this agreement will come into effect 60 days after the Xbox firm closes its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The partnership will is a commitment to "mutual respect and open communication" that will see Microsoft will be neutral to any unionisation that employees at the Call of Duty giant decides to undertake in the future. Staff will be able to exercise their right to talk to other employees and union reps about organising. Workers will also have access to tech to streamline deciding whether or not to join a union. Finally, CWA and Microsoft have pledged to reach a prompt agreement if the two parties fall out.

“This agreement provides a pathway for Activision Blizzard workers to exercise their democratic rights to organize and collectively bargain after the close of the Microsoft acquisition and establishes a high road framework for employers in the games industry,” CWA president Chris Shelton said.

“Microsoft’s binding commitments will give employees a seat at the table and ensure that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard benefits the company's workers and the broader video game labor market. The agreement addresses CWA’s previous concerns regarding the acquisition, and, as a result, we support its approval and look forward to working collaboratively with Microsoft after this deal closes.”

Microsoft president and vice chair Brad Smith added: “Earlier this month we announced a set of principles that will guide our approach to labor organizations, and the Activision Blizzard acquisition is our first opportunity to put these principles into practice. We appreciate CWA’s collaboration in reaching this agreement, and we see today’s partnership as an avenue to innovate and grow together.”

This comes in the wake of the QA department at Activision Blizzard's Raven Software forming the games industry's first ever union. The Call of Duty giant did not initially recognise the formation of the Game Workers Alliance, but did so last week

Microsoft's position was that it would recognise a union at Raven.

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.