July 5, 2022

Microsoft Pledges Neutrality in Union Campaigns at Activision

In early March, the union signed a letter asking federal regulators to scrutinize the acquisition. “The potential takeover by Microsoft threatens to further undermine workers’ rights and suppress wages,” the letter said.

Microsoft has since tried to strike a conciliatory tone. It said it would not stop Activision from voluntarily recognizing the union before a formal election, which Activision did not do. After the Raven Q.A. workers voted in late May to form the first union at a major North American game publisher, Phil Spencer, the head of gaming at Microsoft, told employees that he would recognize the Raven union once the deal between the two companies closed, the gaming news site Kotaku reported, citing a video of an employee town hall.

Activision said on Friday that it was starting contract negotiations with the newly unionized Raven workers. “We decided to take this important step forward with our 27 represented employees and C.W.A. to explore their ideas and insights for how we might better serve our employees, players and other stakeholders,” Bobby Kotick, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement.

In a blog post this month that appeared to foreshadow the deal, Mr. Smith announced a set of principles to guide Microsoft’s response to labor organizing, an indication that it was taking a more open approach across the company’s businesses.

He wrote that he had observed Microsoft’s successful “collaborative experiences with works councils and unions” while working in Europe and said that in the United States the company would pursue “collaborative approaches that will make it simpler, rather than more difficult, for our employees to make informed decisions and to exercise their legal right to choose whether to form or join a union.”

In the interview, Mr. Smith called the neutrality agreement “our first opportunity to put those principles into practice.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/13/business/economy/microsoft-activision-union.html

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