One of the largest unions in the country won national attention last month when it declared it had won the support of a video game development studio’s employees to unionize. But weeks later, the union is now admitting defeat and canceling plans to hold a vote after employees criticized the labor group.
The Communication Workers of America in December celebrated its successful effort to convince a supermajority of workers at Proletariat, a studio belonging to video game developer Activision Blizzard, to unionize. After the union announced this week it had given up on plans to hold a unionization vote, it became clear that there were cracks in the union’s support, as Proletariat employees took to Twitter to explain that many developers were unconvinced by the union’s pitch.
The union blamed the studio’s management for the failed effort, accusing them of “confrontational tactics” such as holding meetings that “demoralized and disempowered the group, making a free and fair election impossible.”
But studio engineer Dan Ogles challenged the Communication Workers of America’s characterization of the unionization effort’s failure as the result of union-busting, saying “the union campaign was extremely contentious and divisive within the group of workers from the start.”
“Managers did not discuss unionization with their employees unless requested,” Ogles said. “There were no threats or attempts at intimidation that I’m aware of; if the CWA thought otherwise they could have filed a charge of Unfair Labor Practices, as they have done many times in other campaigns.”
Another Proletariat employee, Kat Dolan, told Axios the union’s accusations against the studio’s management were “laughably fabricated,” that meetings held by management were “neutral and supportive.” Dolan suggested it was the union’s failure to win over roughly 20 of her coworkers concerned about the union’s impact that doomed the unionization effort.
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