Proletariat, the Activision Blizzard studio currently handling the World of Warcraft development pipeline, has begun organizing a union with Communications Workers of America. It marks the third studio from this company to become syndicated alongside Blizzard Albany and Raven Software.
This union effort is very different in one key respect. Union efforts at Raven Software and Blizzard Albany have focused on quality assurance test workers. Meanwhile, the party of the proletariat seeks to form a “wall to wall” union. In other words, they try to organize all workers outside of management, including engineers, animators, QA workers, and producers. Should the CWA succeed in this endeavor, the unit will consist of 57 employees.
Proletariat was acquired in June 2022 under undisclosed terms. Since the acquisition, the studio has focused on the World of Warcraft development pipeline. Now, the studio aims to become Activision Blizzard’s third syndicated studio. Dustin Yost, a Proletariat software engineer, said the following in an emailed statement:
Earlier this year, when we heard that Blizzard was planning to acquire Proletariat, we started discussing how we could protect the great culture we’ve built here. By forming a union and negotiating a contract, we can ensure that we can continue to do our best work and create innovative experiences within the limits of game development.
The group, known as the Alliance of Proletarian Workers, states that it seeks to retain company benefits such as its healthcare plan, its policy on allowing remote work, and its “flexible PTO policy” with this union effort. The group also seeks to codify professional development opportunities and diversity, equity and inclusion policies. In addition, it seeks to reduce any alleged expectation that overtime is “mandatory” to create a “transparent” process for reporting misconduct and improve communication about compensation.
Will the Federation of the Proletariat have an impact with other studios within Activision Blizzard? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, the winds of change are definitely getting more and more brutal in the company which is currently in the process of being acquired by Microsoft.