With the help of a major union, Activision Blizzard employees have filed a complaint against the company with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that the game development and publishing giant forced workers to discuss labor conditions. Intimidated, surveyed and questioned to discourage them.
Employees, who are operating under the “A Better ABK” banner (referring to Activision Blizzard King), and the CWA allege that, over the past six months, Activision Blizzard:
- “repeatedly indulging in unlawful conduct by threatening employees”
- “Told employees that they cannot communicate with or discuss ongoing investigations of wages, hours and working conditions”
- “Maintained an overly comprehensive social media policy”
- “Protected social media policy implemented against employees engaged in organized activity”
- “Employees intimidated or disciplined because of protected organized activity”
- “Protected is engaged in the monitoring of employees engaged in organized activity and in questioning employees about protected consolidated activity.”
The CWA also acknowledged that Activision Blizzard hired WilmerHale, a law firm known for its anti-union efforts with Amazon and other companies.
In partnership with CODE-CWA, we have filed an unfair labor practice lawsuit with the National Labor Relations Board: https://t.co/meGNFYcWJYSeptember 14, 2021
A Better ABK tweeted, “If the NLRB decides in our favor, the decision will be retroactive and we will set a precedent that no employee in the US can be intimidated into talking about forced arbitration.”
Told by an anonymous Activision Blizzard employee vice president That they suspect upper management is attempting to get rid of employees who have been vocal about the company’s perceived discrimination.
The CWA is a national association with 1,200 chartered local unions, with a focus on telecommunications, IT, airline, news media and broadcast media. It represents an estimated 700,000 members in the public and private sectors. The complaint against Activision Blizzard is part of the union’s campaign to organize digital workers, which it describes as an initiative “organizing workers supporting efforts in the technology and games industries.”
Activision Blizzard did not immediately respond to PC Gamer’s request for comment.
In July, Activision Blizzard became the subject of a major lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The lawsuit alleges that the company allowed a pervasive culture of sexual harassment and discrimination against women in the workplace. This fired an employee, as well as formed A Better ABK.
In the coming months, several high-profile leaders of Blizzard’s development teams have left the company, including Diablo 4 director Louis Barriga, longtime designer Jesse McCree and World of Warcraft designer Jonathan LeMarche. Blizzard president Jay Allen Brack stepped down in early August.
Most recently, Blizzard has removed in-game references to developers implicated in lawsuits, including former World of Warcraft creative director Alex Afrasiabi, who was fired in 2020 for misconduct. Blizzard also announced that Overwatch character Macri would be renamed.
Thank you, bloomberg.