Blizzard employees have been very vocal recently about how they are being treated in the company. Last week, Bloomberg reported that an employee made a spreadsheet that compiled salary data showing the disparity. The document has since been updated by other employees in the company. Earlier this week, another story came out about several current and former Activision Blizzard employees saying that they are paid far less than what their competitors pay. Those who left, some of whom may have been a part of the big layoffs last year, say that they got as high or 75% or 100% pay increases. Reviewing the data, Bloomberg reports that some workers are alleging that they are being paid below $40,000 a year which is less than of the median household income in Irvine, California where the main campus is located. This has all lead to hundreds of employees using the company’s Slack network to organize a list of workplace requests.
BREAKING: Blizzard staff are compiling a list of workplace requests for management including equal pay, fair promotions, and living wages for QA. The US games industry has no unions — this is one of the largest collective labor actions in games to date https://t.co/XURBIzvYWH
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) August 5, 2020
Unions are not present within the major video game companies in the U.S. even though there has been a movement to get unions into the industry. In January, there was a major campaign launched to get video game and tech workers unionized. Bernie Sanders and Liz Shuler, the Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations also have voted their support for unions in the industry. While this isn’t the first step for that, this “represents one of the largest instances of workplace organizing in the industry,” Jason Schreier said.
The list of workplace requests includes fair pay, increased sick time, changes for promotions, and raises for members of the customer service and quality assurance departments. Dustin Blackwell, a Blizzard Spokesperson said “we will continue to adapt our compensation to build and keep the workforce our company needs today and tomorrow. We understand that some Blizzard employees have specific requests and we look forward to hearing from them directly.”
On Tuesday, Activision Blizzard reported their second-quarter revenue and said “economic uncertainty could end the surge in video game demand as the pandemic continues. Talking to Bloomberg, several employees expressed disappointment that the internal debate over the last week wasn’t brought up with investors.