Phil Spencer reaffirms that Microsoft will not oppose the Raven QA union

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As reported by Kotaku, Xbox head Phil Spencer stated in an internal all-hands meeting that Microsoft will recognize Raven QA’s new union if its bid to purchase parent company Activision Blizzard wins the FTC’s approval and goes through.

At the meeting, a recording of which was shown to Kotaku, Spencer asserted that he and Microsoft Gaming VP Linda Norman “absolutely support employees’ right to organize and form unions” and that they would “absolutely support [an] employees’ organization that’s in place.” This is in line with a previous statement from Microsoft corporate vice president Lisa Tanzi, who told the Washington Post that “Microsoft respects Activision Blizzard employees’ right to choose whether to be represented by a labor organization and we will honor those decisions.”

It’s unclear what recourse Microsoft would have otherwise, as the union drive was ultimately brought before the NLRB and won in a landslide vote. The softer rhetoric from Microsoft does stand in contrast to that of Activision Blizzard management, which has actively opposed the unionization effort at Raven QA.

Unless the acquisition radically changes Activision Blizzard’s corporate structure and Raven’s relationship to it, it’s ultimately possible that Microsoft will simply avoid intervening either way in disputes between the Raven union and management, with hostile action continuing at the level of Activision Blizzard. There is also the open question of what future union drives at Activision Blizzard-owned studios may look like now that Raven QA has opened the door, and how Microsoft will respond if the merger goes through.

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