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Microsoft and CWA union arrive at a labour neutrality agreement

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Microsoft and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) have come to a labour neutrality agreement. The two parties said that the agreement concerns employees at Activision Blizzard and will come into force 60 days after Microsoft completes its acquisition of the firm. The deal will allow employees to “freely and fairly” decide if they want union representation, in line with Microsoft’s recent announcement on workplace organising.

The CWA said that the agreement is binding and addresses the concerns it had about the acquisition. It claims that the agreement will give employees a seat at the decision-making table to make sure they benefit from the Activision Blizzard acquisition too. The agreement has five basic provisions, they are:

  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.

Commenting on the agreement, Microsoft President and Vice Chair Brad Smith, said:

“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.”

The agreement won’t affect the Activision Blizzard workforce before the close of the sale. Microsoft and the CWA said that they'll continue to work together to bring opportunities to people in the U.S. workforce, such as skill-building programmes.

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