Overruling the company’s concerns, a regional director for the US National Labor Relations Board authorised a union election for a group of workers at an Activision Blizzard-owned studio that works on the popular “Call of Duty” franchise on Friday.
Jennifer Hadsall, a regional director in Minneapolis, ordered ballots to be mailed to employees on April 29 in a 27-page judgement. According to the decision, workers will have until May 20 to return their ballots, and counting will commence on May 23.
The election will affect about 21 employees in Raven Software’s quality assurance department in Middleton, Wisconsin. The employees will vote on whether or not to join the Communications Workers of America, a labour union that has been active in organising tech workers in recent months.
The vote also coincides with a boom in labour activity among tech workers. Employees at an Amazon facility on Staten Island, New York, just decided to unionise, while Apple employees in Atlanta have submitted a petition for a union election.
Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) is “reviewing legal options regarding a potential appeal,” according to a spokeswoman.
“We are sad that fewer than 10% of our staff will make a decision that will have a substantial impact on the future of our whole studio,” the spokesman said in a statement. “We feel that the best way to achieve individual and organisational goals is to have a direct interaction with team members.”
Activision had petitioned the NLRB to dismiss the union election petition, noting a recent reorganisation and arguing that any vote on unionisation should be held among a far larger group of employees. Hadsall, on the other hand, ruled in favour of the proposed unit, noting that the QA testers the union wishes to represent have a “significantly distinct collective-bargaining interest.”
Activision Blizzard employees have come together in recent months to try to influence the company’s destiny, staging a walkout and circulating a petition demanding for the ouster of CEO Bobby Kotick. In January, Microsoft declared its intention to buy Activision.