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Workers at 'Call of Duty' creator Activision Blizzard vote to join union

By Doyinsola Oladipo

May 23 (Reuters) - A small group of Activision Blizzard (ATVI) workers voted for unionizing at a studio that works on the popular "Call of Duty" franchise, the second victory in a push to organize the video gaming industry.

Employees in the quality assurance department at Raven Software in Middleton, Wisconsin, voted 19-3 for joining the Communications Workers of America, according to a tally by U.S. National Labor Relation Board (NLRB) officials on Monday. The number of ballots received was 24 of 28 eligible voters. There were two challenged ballots, which is not enough to change the outcome of the vote.

The win comes amid a surge in labor activity by workers in the tech sector.

In December, Vodeo became the first video game studio in North America with workers to secure union representation.

Employees at an Amazon (AMZN) warehouse in Staten Island, New York, recently voted to unionize and workers at an Apple (AAPL) store in Atlanta filed a petition for a union election.

Workers at more than 50 U.S. Starbucks (SBUX) cafes have elected to join Workers United, while five stores voted against the union, out of roughly 240 that have sought to hold elections since last August.

"There's certainly a huge amount of energy and optimism, particularly amongst young workers at the moment," said John Logan, a professor of Labor and Employment Studies at San Francisco State University, adding that there has been an upsurge in labor organizing around the country.

In Wisconsin, the organizers called for a healthier work environment with realistic development timelines, appropriate compensation and career development opportunities in an industry where quality assurance is undervalued, according to the organizers official Twitter account.

Microsoft (MSFT) announced plans to acquire Activision in January.

(Reporting by Doyinsola Oladipo in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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