The acquisition of Activision Blizzard could have led to a Microsoft union battle, as some employees recently voted to unionize. However, the a senior exec has stated that the company ‘absolutely supports’ the union.

The apparent attitude of Microsoft toward unions stands in stark contrast to that of Apple

Apple unionization response

There has been growing evidence of dissatisfaction among Apple Store workers over a number of issues, most notably stagnating pay in the face of rapidly rising inflation. The issue has seen a succession of Apple retail stores take steps toward forming or joining unions

We first learned of retail staff plans to unionize back in February, when groups at two stores were reportedly preparing paperwork to file with the National Labor Relations Board, with about six more locations at earlier stages of planning. 

We saw a formal start to the process at Apple’s flagship Grand Central Terminal store in New York, with a number of goals for a better deal for staff. This was followed by similar moves in Atlanta and Maryland.

Apple has been fighting unionization so hard that formal complaints have been filed, alleging that the company has broken federal laws.

The Cupertino company now appears to be taking a carrot-and-stick approach, showing retail staff a 6m 20s video in which retail head Deidre O’Brien shares her ‘worries’ about unionization – at the same time announcing a pay-rise.

Microsoft union recognition

Engadget reports that Microsoft appears to be adopting a very different tone.

Xbox head Phil Spencer reportedly said he would recognize a union at Raven Software once Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is complete, according to a recording of today’s all-hands company meeting viewed by Kotaku. QA testers at Raven earlier this week voted to unionize, becoming the first organized workers within a AAA gaming studio in North America to do so.

“Once the deal closes, we would absolutely support [an] employees’ organization that’s in place,” said Spencer. “We think it is a right of employees and something that can be a part of a relationship between a company and people who work at the company.”

We’ve argued that a more cooperative approach is likely to offer the greatest benefit to both Apple and its employees.

Photo: Tadas Sar/Unsplash

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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