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Game Workers Union Backs Microsoft In FTC Lawsuit, Says Merger Will "Improve Working Conditions"

Yesterday, the FTC announced its intent to stop the Microsoft/Activision Blizzard merger. It sued in court, citing the potential for Microsoft to use its power to harm competition in the video game market by withholding games like Starfield and Redfall from rival consoles. Activision's CEO expressed confidence despite the lawsuit that the deal would eventually go through, and indeed, this could just be a legal hurdle for Microsoft to jump given the largely conservative US justice system.

One thing that wasn't mentioned in the FTC complaint was Activision employees. The Communication Workers of America (CWA) has since issued a statement supporting the Microsoft and Activision merger, noting Microsoft's promise to "respect" unionization efforts within the Call of Duty Publisher–something Activision seems less inclined to do.

"Activision Blizzard is using its already-significant power to resist workers' organizing efforts and clearly does not wish to respect its workers' right to freely and fairly organize a union," wrote the CWA. "After CWA brought our concerns to light, Microsoft agreed to enter into negotiations to show regulators their good faith efforts to address monopsony harms, resulting in a legally binding agreement with CWA."

Microsoft has signaled a softer touch when it comes to unions, while Activision seems to have taken every effort to stop its employees from unionizing, hiring an anti-union law firm to send union-busting propaganda and withholding raises from workers attempting to unionize. Six months after Game Workers Alliance (GWA) successfully unionized, Activision seems to be negotiating in bad faith, doing everything it can to skirt its legal requirement to achieve a contract. The CWA (parent union of the GWA) hopes that Microsoft won’t be so difficult to work with.

"Approving this merger with the labor agreement that we fashioned with Microsoft to protect collective bargaining rights would have sent a game-changing message to corporate America that workers do indeed have a seat at the table and their concerns matter and must be addressed," the CWA added. "We believe the FTC’s case is not likely to convince a federal judge, particularly as the European Commission may move to approve the deal, and that workers at Activision Blizzard will finally have the opportunity to improve their wages, benefits, and working conditions through their union."

While the FTC fights to stop the merger, Activision is likely to see more unions forming as management continues to clash with QA workers.

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