Proletariat unionisation effort falls apart for now

Proletariat unionisation effort falls apart for now

The Communication Workers of America (CWA) union has withdrawn its request to hold an unionisation vote at Proletariat.

The organisation has pulled its request from the National Labor Relations Board, blaming the studio's CEO Seth Sivak for dissuading staff from forming a bargaining unit. Proletariat initially attempted to form a union at the end of 2022

“Unfortunately, Proletariat CEO Seth Sivak chose to follow Activision Blizzard’s lead and responded to the workers’ desire to form a union with confrontational tactics,” the CWA said.

“Like many founders, he took the workers’ concerns as a personal attack and held a series of meetings that demoralised and disempowered the group, making a free and fair election impossible.

"As we have seen at Microsoft's Zenimax studio, there is another path forward, one that empowers workers through a free and fair process, without intimidation or manipulation by the employer. We will continue to advocate alongside workers in the video game industry for better working conditions, higher standards and a union voice."

Activision Blizzard VP of media relations Joseph Christinat added: “We appreciate that the CWA has unilaterally decided to withdraw its petition in response to employee feedback. As we’ve stated, we welcomed the opportunity for each employee to safely express their preferences through a confidential vote.”

This is Activision Blizzard's first victory against unionisation at its company following the formation of bargaining units at both Raven Software and Blizzard Albany. If the Call of Duty giant's acquisition by Microsoft goes ahead, then the Proletariat staff will be able to unionise with no resistance as the Xbox firm has entered into a labour neutrality agreement with the CWA. This has allowed a union at ZeniMax Media to form rapidly.

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.