CWA, Microsoft announce labor neutrality agreement

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Microsoft and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) announced a groundbreaking labor neutrality deal on Monday. Upon the completion of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the agreement will go into effect at that company, and it reflects a fundamental belief shared by both organizations that allowing employees to freely and fairly choose union representation will benefit Microsoft and its employees while also creating opportunities for innovation in the gaming industry.

“This agreement provides a pathway for Activision Blizzard workers to exercise their democratic rights to organize and collectively bargain after the close of the Microsoft acquisition and establishes a high road framework for employers in the games industry. Microsoft’s binding commitments will give employees a seat at the table and ensure that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard benefits the company’s workers and the broader video game labor market. The agreement addresses CWA’s previous concerns regarding the acquisition, and, as a result, we support its approval and look forward to working collaboratively with Microsoft after this deal closes,”

said CWA President Chris Shelton.

An agreement is built on a basis of mutual respect and open communication between the parties. Employees at Activision Blizzard will be subject to five fundamental provisions after Microsoft’s purchase of the company. First and foremost, when workers covered by the agreement express a desire to join a union, Microsoft will maintain a neutral stance. Workers will also be allowed to exercise their freedom to interact with other employees and union officials regarding union membership in a manner that stimulates information exchange and minimises business interruptions. Third, workers will have an easier time deciding whether or not to join a union, thanks to new technologies. Fourth, workers have the option of maintaining their privacy and secrecy. A dispute between Microsoft and the CWA will be resolved via an accelerated arbitration procedure if the two sides cannot resolve their differences quickly under the terms of the agreement. Activision employees will be unaffected by the agreement until the deal is finalized.

“Earlier this month we announced a set of principles that will guide our approach to labor organizations, and the Activision Blizzard acquisition is our first opportunity to put these principles into practice. We appreciate CWA’s collaboration in reaching this agreement, and we see today’s partnership as an avenue to innovate and grow together,”

said Microsoft President and Vice Chair Brad Smith.

We will continue to look for new and creative ways to work together, including shared possibilities for the US worker to benefit from new technology and skill training initiatives that will improve the competitiveness of our nation.

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