Microsoft reaches agreement to remain neutral in Activision Blizzard union efforts
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The agreement, unusual in the tech industry, has the potential to ease the path for workers at Activision Blizzard (ATVI) to unionize once Microsoft (MSFT) completes its blockbuster $68.7 billion deal to acquire the video game company. The deal is expected to close by next year. Microsoft says it will support employees who want to unionizeUnder the agreement, Microsoft will "take a neutral approach" to employees who express interest in joining a union and will allow employees to communicate openly about unionizing, the company said in a joint press release with CWA. The agreement further formalizes Microsoft's support of potential unions within its workforce, which the company's president, Brad Smith, first expressed in a blog post earlier this month. It also sets the company apart from many of its peers in the tech industry, with unionization efforts at Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL) and Activision Blizzard turning contentious in the past year. "Recent unionization campaigns across the country — including in the tech sector — have led us to conclude that inevitably these issues will touch on more businesses, potentially including our own," Smith wrote previously. "Our employees will never need to organize to have a dialogue with Microsoft's leaders. But we also recognize the workplace is changing."Read MoreA group of quality assurance employees at Raven Software, a gaming studio owned by Activision Blizzard that works on the company's popular "Call of Duty" game series, voted to form a union last month. The unionization vote followed months of tensions between Raven and Activision Blizzard over recent layoffs and marked the latest effort by workers to agitate for improved workplace conditions at the troubled video game company.Activision Blizzard said Friday that it had entered negotiations with CWA on the Raven union, pledging to "engage in good faith negotiations" with the union. Click Here To Get Funded!