Raven Software’s QA team is walking out after surprise layoffs

A number of Raven Software employees are walking off the job today in support of their coworkers who were told their contracts would be terminated last Friday by Activision Blizzard management.

In a statement shared with Axios’ Stephen Totilo, Raven Software’s QA workers and a number of additional staff members described the conditions that preceded the sudden termination of 20 employees, which Activision Blizzard told Game Developer were done as part of a move to hire a different group of 500 contractors as full-time employees.

Worker advocacy group A Better ABK revealed that those 500 positions were being created over at Treyarch Studios, a terrifically gross move that seems to pit different workers from different studios against each other.

Per the statement from the protesting Raven employees, the dismissed contractors were released in “good standing,” legalese for the fact that they had not been fired for underperformance or committing firable offenses. Raven Software employees have also been left to figure out where the remaining 8 terminations are taking place, since they’re only aware of the 12 that took place last week.

The terminated workers had apparently been working overtime for the last five weeks, and had been preparing for “an anticipated end of year crunch.” Many of them also had physically relocated to Wisconsin in recent years to prepare for an end to remote work–all without relocation assistance from Raven Software. They had done so because they had received reassurances that “their workload was consistent.”

This new disaster in the ongoing Activision Blizzard leadership crisis feels insult after insult directed at workers. The impacted employees had apparently been told by Raven leadership that “positive departmental changes [were] coming” throughout 2021. This may be referring to details shared last week that the team had been told there were efforts to organize a “payment restructure” for the team.

We will update this story if we learn of any more details.

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