Microsoft Signs Labor Neutrality Agreement with CWA, Will Apply to Activision Blizzard 60 Days After Deal’s Closure

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Microsoft has signed a labor neutrality agreement with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) which is said to apply to Activision Blizzard starting sixty days after the massive deal’s closure.

Microsoft President and Vice Chair Brad Smith stated:

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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.

CWA President Chris Shelton added:

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.

The labor neutrality agreement is based on the following five provisions.

  1. Microsoft will take a neutral approach when employees covered by the agreement express interest in joining a union.
  2. Covered employees will be able to easily exercise their right to communicate with other employees and union representatives about union membership in a way that encourages information sharing and avoids business disruptions.
  3. Employees will have access to an innovative technology-supported and streamlined process for choosing whether to join a union.
  4. Employees can maintain confidentiality and privacy of that choice if they wish.
  5. If a disagreement arises between the CWA and Microsoft under the agreement, the two organizations will work together promptly to reach an agreement and will turn to an expedited arbitration process if they cannot.

This seems to be part of Microsoft’s strategies to facilitate the successful closing of the $70 billion worthy deal with Activision Blizzard. The closing should take place before the end of June 2023, unless regulatory agencies like the FTC sue to block the deal.

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