Strike by ABetterABK
As Activision Blizzard works to improve its workplace culture, unions are brewing within the video game company A group of workers known as ABetterABK has teamed up with Communications Workers of America and begun asking colleagues to sign and submit union authorisation cards.
In an email to its US employees on Friday, Activision Blizzard's chief administrative officer Brian Bulatao stressed that while workers have the right to make their own decision about joining a union, they should "consider the implications" of signing the cards.
"Once you sign this document, you will be giving the CWA the exclusive right to represent you for the purposes of collective bargaining regarding all terms and conditions of employment," the email reads. "This means that your ability to negotiate all your own terms and conditions of employment will be transferred to the CWA, as the document states."
Activision Blizzard's turmoil stems from a discrimination lawsuit filed in July by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, in which the company accused the company of paying female employees less than their male counterparts, giving them less opportunity for advancement, contributing to a "college fraternity" workplace culture. and ignoring complaints from female employees about blatant harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
After the company called the allegations "distorted and in many cases false descriptions of Blizzard's past", more than 2,000 current and former employees signed the petition, calling the response "disgusting and offensive". Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick issued a lengthy apology for the company's "tone-deaf" response and promised swift changes in the workplace, but this was not enough to stop a massive employee strike over the issue.
Bulatao's letter came as a group of workers have been on strike since Monday to protest the sacking of contractors at Raven Software, the Activision Blizzard-owned studio known for games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Call of Duty: Warzone. ABetterABK set up a strike fund for workers on Thursday. The fund raised more than $247,000 of its $1 million goal, which will be used to pay salaries and relocate affected Raven contractors.