Phil Spencer says Xbox will “absolutely support” new union at Activision Blizzards Raven Software

Xbox will “absolutely support” the newly formed union at Raven Software following the closure of Microsoft’s pending $68 billion Activision Blizzard acquisition, according to gaming boss Phil Spencer. 

New quotes and video from an internal Microsoft meeting first reported by Kotaku (opens in new tab) clarify Spencer and Xbox’s stance on unions. Per CVP and general counsel Lisa Tanzi, the company previously said it “will not stand in the way” of Activision Blizzard unions, but today’s meeting yielded the company’s first statement of unreserved support. 

“[Deputy general counsel] Linda Norman and I have been spending a lot of time educating myself on unions,” Spencer said, addressing previous comments about his inexperience with unions. “We absolutely support employees’ right to organize and form unions.” 

While Microsoft itself has no direct ties to Raven Software’s Game Workers Alliance or Communication Workers of America, the organization backing the fledgling union, Spencer reiterated that, “once the deal closes, we would absolutely support [an] employees’ organization that’s in place. We think it is a right of employees and something that can be a part of a relationship between a company and people who work at the company.” 

Microsoft president Brad Smith says the Activision acquisition is “moving fast,” but the massive deal must still be reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission, which has gotten directly involved in a break from tradition. This decision follows a review of antitrust merger guidelines by the FTC and the Department of Justice, which jointly announced the review mere hours after the Activision deal broke. 

The Game Workers Alliance was officially recognized by the National Labor Relations Board after a 19 – 3 vote held earlier this week. It’s the first union at a major North American video game studio and one of the region’s few games unions overall, following the Vodeo Games union formed last year. 

Raven’s union vote results were announced on the heels of new accusations from the NLRB against Activision alleging illegal threatening of staff

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