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Raven Software employees walk out following layoffs in the QA team

UPDATE: the walkout continues with no set end date.

UPDATE 07/12/21: The walkout by employees at Raven Software has continued today, in solidarity with members of the QA team who were fired last week.

As reported by the Washington Post, over 60 workers walked out - virtually or otherwise - on Monday. The protest continues today with no set end date. Workers are using the hashtag #WeAreRaven as part of the protest.

"We support their right to express their opinions and concerns in a safe and respectful manner, without fear of retaliation," read a statement from Activision Blizzard to the Washington Post.

Brian Raffel, head of Raven Software, held a studio-wide meeting on Monday explaining the terminations weren't layoffs but temporary employment agreements that weren't renewed. He apologised for the lack of clarity in communication.

ORIGINAL STORY 06/12/21: Employees at Raven Software are walking out over a dispute following layoffs in the QA team.

The Activision Blizzard owned studio is responsible for Call of Duty: Warzone, on which the QA team is predominantly focused.

However, on Friday 3rd December 12 QA testers had their contracts terminated in "good standing", meaning without underperforming or committing a fireable offense.

The majority of the remaining team at the Wisconsin studio are unsure about the status of their employment. The cuts come after a five-week period of overtime and anticipated end-of-year crunch.

"In response to the events of Friday, the Raven QA team and other members of Raven's staff will be walking out with a singular demand: Every member of the QA team, including those terminated on Friday, must be offered full time positions," reads a statement from staff.

"The Raven QA department is essential to the day-to-day functioning of the studio as a whole. Terminating the contracts of high performing testers in a time of consistent work and profit puts the health of the studio at risk.

"Additionally, these actions go directly against the positive culture that Raven has created over the years. The end goal of this walk out is to ensure the continued growth of Raven as a studio and to foster a positive community for everyone who works there."

Some of those team members who were let go had relocated to Wisconsin, without assistance from Raven, in anticipation of the return to in-person work, due to reassurances from the studio that their workload would remain consistent.

Activision has since responded to the cuts: "Activision publishing is growing its overall investment in its development and operations resources. We are converting approximately 500 temporary workers to full-time employees in the coming months. Unfortunately, as part of this change, we also have notified 20 temporary workers across studios that their contracts would not be extended."

Raven Software is responsible for a number of Call of Duty titles, including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

Employee group ABetterABK tweeted out their support: "We watched in shock today as our peers at Raven lost their employment in real time. With all of our efforts to improve the lives of our contractors, this is a great wound for all of us - and an incredible break of the trust the company has asked us for. Know we stand with you.

"This has not only destroyed the morale of our workforce, but obliterated trust in the company that has been routinely asking us for patience in improving our work lives."

This marks the latest walkout of staff from an Activision Blizzard studio.

Just last month, 150 Activision Blizzard staff walked out demanding the removal of CEO Bobby Kotick following damning reports of workplace harassment and misconduct.

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About the Author
Ed Nightingale avatar

Ed Nightingale

Deputy News Editor

Ed has an interest in streaming, people and communities, and giving a voice to marginalised people.

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