Following the lawsuit filed by the state of California, and a walkout by Activision Blizzard employees, the company now faces a new lawsuit. Activision Blizzard employees have made a complaint before the National Labor Relations Board that Activision Blizzard has allegedly used illegal labor-busting tactics and intimidation to “prevent employees from exercising their rights to stand together and demand a more equitable, sustainable, and diverse workplace,” according to a press release. The move was made by the group ABetterABK, Activision Blizzard workers in partnership with CODE-CWA, another group that is specifically working to bring unions to the tech, game, and other digital industries in the US and Canada.
If the NLRB rules in our favor, the ruling will be retroactive and we will set a precedent that no worker in the US can be intimidated out of talking about forced arbitration.
— ABetterABK (@ABetterABK) September 14, 2021
Multiple employees have talked about the issues that they’ve seen and paid attention to. A current Blizzard employee said “we think since they’re being so outspoken, leadership is trying to get rid of them. I’ve noticed some people have gone completely silent,” or even quit the company and the games industry altogether. The employee said that the mood among colleagues and other workers part of the alliance has been hopeful for change but they believe it won’t come from leadership. “We’ve seen retaliation already, so I’m scared. They’re keeping us in the dark,” they said. Another employee said that “Blizzard has been hemorrhaging people,” in the last few weeks talking about employees quitting the company in wake of the harassment allegations.
“I am so glad to see the CWA supporting and protecting my co-workers from these coercive and isolating tactics,” a third employee told Motherboard. “It is important that people know their rights and that they have the ability to enforce those rights. People should not fear for their jobs because they are speaking up to be treated with humanity.”
Tom Smith, National Organizing Director at CWA said “We are very inspired by the bravery of ABK workers, and we will always stand shoulder to shoulder with workers fighting harassment, assault, and discrimination. Management could have responded with humility and a willingness to take necessary steps to address the horrid conditions some ABK workers have faced. Instead Activision Blizzard’s response to righteous worker activity was surveillance, intimidation, and hiring notorious union busters. The National Labor Relations Board under the Biden Administration has made it clear that it will hold companies accountable whenever they break the law; we have filed these charges to ensure that the actions of ABK management will not go unanswered.”