Proletariat, an Activision Blizzard studio that currently handles the World of Warcraft development pipeline, has started to organize a union with the Communication Workers of America. This would mark the third studio from this company that would become unionized next to Blizzard Albany and Raven Software.
This unionization effort is quite different in one key aspect. The Raven Software and Blizzard Albany unionization efforts focused on QA Testing workers. Meanwhile, Proletariat seeks to form a "wall-to-wall" union. In other words, they are attempting to organize all workers outside management, including engineers, animators, QA workers, and producers. Should the CWA be successful in this endeavor, the unit would be comprised of 57 employees.
Proletariat was acquired in June 2022 under undisclosed terms. Since its acquisition, the studio has been focusing on the World of Warcraft development pipeline. Now, the studio aims to become the third unionized studio within Activision Blizzard. 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 to discuss how we could protect the great culture we have created here. By forming a union and negotiating a contract, we can make sure that we are able to continue doing our best work and create innovative experiences at the frontier of game development.
The group, known as the Proletariat Workers Alliance, states that it's seeking 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. Additionally, it seeks to tamp down on any alleged expectation that overtime is “mandatory” to create a “transparent” process to report misconduct and improve communication about compensation.
Will Proletariat's union make an impact with other studios within Activision Blizzard? Only time will tell. One thing's for certain, the winds of change are definitely becoming wilder over at the company that is currently in the process of being acquired by Microsoft.