Proletariat leadership won’t voluntarily recognize PWA union

Proletariat leadership won’t voluntarily recognize PWA union

The management team behind Spellbreak Proletariat will not voluntarily recognize unionized workers and has sought a full union election through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

In an update posted on the Proletariat website, studio executives said some employees have requested an anonymous vote and described the move as the “fairest option.”

Proletariat staff formed the Proletariat Workers Alliance (PWA) with the help of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) last December and called on management to voluntarily recognize the union.

The move comes six months after the studio was acquired by Blizzard Entertainment, with the news coming a day after the developer announced it would shut down Spellbreak in 2023.

PWA includes employees from a variety of disciplines such as QA, animation, design and engineering, and according to members it was formed (in part) in response to the studio being acquired by Activision Blizzard.

“We are coming together […] to set the studio up for success as we enter the next chapter of Proletariat by joining forces with Activision Blizzard King,” said a vision statement posted by PWA in December. “We aim to be a beloved game studio with a diverse team , doing our best work and creating innovative experiences at the frontier of development.”

Studio executives, however, claim that their top priority is “keeping our employees informed and educated” and as such will not ratify the union without a NLRB vote.

“Except this [a vote] being the fairest option, it allows employees to get all the information and different views. This is an important decision, everyone deserves some time to process it and better understand its potential impacts,” a statement said.

“The leadership of Proletariat is and always has been pro-worker. In fact, the name Proletariat was inspired by the founders’ dissatisfaction as workers in the industry. They wanted everyone to share in the success and ownership of the studio and be treated. This included everyone from senior developers to first-time developers, whether they were managers or individual contributors, across the range of disciplines that made up the company.

“For the past 10 years, we’ve worked hard to build a great place to work, and often employees who leave, stay or return tell us this is the best place they’ve ever worked.”

The latest push for unionization comes after QA workers at Activision Blizzard’s Raven Software and Blizzard Albany branches successfully organized. Activision Blizzard, however, was accused by Raven workers of trying to obstruct their efforts, while the company also reportedly sought to derail the Blizzard Albany vote during an NLRB hearing.

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