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After months of delay, Blizzard's Diablo testers finally form union

Final vote held up by real-life blizzard.

Blizzard's Albany-based band of Diablo testers have now formally formed a union, following months of delay.

The small QA (quality assurance) team at Blizzard Albany first anounced its intent to unionise back in July this year.

The team now becomes the second group of testers within Activision Blizzard to successfully do so, following the similarly long-running push by QA staff at Call of Duty studio Raven Software.

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The Blizzard Albany bunch had faced pushback from Activision bosses who argued against the process going ahead, claiming it would be unfair to those outside the QA team within the wider studio.

Ultimately, the US National Labor Relations Board accepted the QA tester's petition to move forward, regardless of the Activision bosses' wishes.

Still, this is but another step towards better conditions. The union, titled as the Game Workers Alliance Albany, will be represented by the larger Communications Workers of America when it begins negotiations with Activision bosses over key issues, such as overtime pay and health benefits.

Ironically, the final hurdle to the studio's vote to unionise was due to weather conditions - with an earlier vote delayed due to a real-life blizzard.

"It took an unbelievable amount of work and perseverance to move this fight forward," GWA Albany member Amanda Deep said in a statement (via Polygon). "With this victory, we're advocating for ourselves and each other because we care deeply about our work and the games we make. Organising has empowered all of us to fight hard for the dignity and respect every worker deserves on the job."

"We are considering all options, with a focus on what is best for all employees and to provide the best games for our millions of players," an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said in response to the news. "We still believe our entire Albany team should have the right to vote. This is about fundamental fairness and rights for every member of the team."

Last month, it was reported that Activision Blizzard was facing new charges from the CWA over unfair labour practices and anti-union rhetoric.