Proletariat Refuses To Voluntarily Recognize PWA Union, Forces NLRB Vote

Former Spellbreak developer Proletariat was acquired by Activision Blizzard last summer to help with the development of World of Warcraft's then-forthcoming expansion, Dragonflight. Following Dragonflight's successful release, Proletariat workers announced plans to unionize. If recognized, this would make Proletariat the third union at Activision Blizzard and the first to be made up of all workers, not just the studio's QA department.

In conjunction with the Communications Workers of America, the Proletariat Workers Alliance asked that "Proletariat and ABK leadership voluntarily recognize our union and bargain in good faith." A few weeks later, Proletariat leadership issued its official response on the studio's website.

"On December 27, 2022, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed a petition to exclusively represent a number of Proletariat’s employees as part of their union," wrote studio management. "Since then, we have come to understand that many of our employees prefer to have an anonymous vote. To that end, we filed our formal position to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) earlier today, and requested an anonymous voting process to take place. Besides being the fairest option, this also allows employees to get all the information and various points of view."

From Activision Blizzard's perspective, refusing to voluntarily recognize the PWA is unsurprising as the publisher forced both its previous two unions to hold votes through the NLRB. In spite of its own name, Proletariat is taking a similar tack.

"The Proletariat leadership is and has always been pro-worker," the statement added. "In fact, the Proletariat name was inspired by the founders' dissatisfaction as workers in the industry."

Proletariat said its top priority is to "keep our employees informed and educated" with "voluntary open discussions." The studio also promises to support employees "through the voting process." We'll see if that support is similar to the support provided to Raven Software and Blizzard Albany.

Unionization is a growing trend within the video games industry. Just last week, ZeniMax QA testers successfully unionized after Microsoft voluntarily recognized ZeniMax Workers United. Microsoft has proven itself to be far more accepting of unions, which has led the CWA to support Microsoft's takeover of Activision Blizzard.

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