Activision-Blizzard Argues its Consistent Failures are Better than Unions

The company's workers are in the midst of a strike and looking into unionizing.

After months of public fallout following the publication of a lawsuit for the company’s “frat boy” culture, workers at Activision-Blizzard have started a strike fund and are moving into unionizing.

The strike fund is being hosted on GoFundMe and was set up by Jessica Gonzalez, a senior test analyst who recently put her resignation in at Blizzard following the company’s inaction after attempts by workers to enact change. The fund was created after employees stopped working on Monday to protest layoffs at Raven Software, and has a goal of $1 million that will be used to pay workers during a strike period, as well as help relocate ex-Raven Software workers affected by the layoffs. According to emails shared with Washington Post, workers were told by management they would receive wages from Monday to Wednesday, but would be unpaid if they continue striking from today onward. Thus, the GoFundMe page’s launch.

All of this was put together with consultation and assistance from the union organization Communication Workers of America, which is assisting in unionization efforts. This prompted a company-wide email from Chief Administrative Officer Brian Bulatao, which was posted in full by Gonzalez on Twitter. It carries a dismissive tone, warning workers that CWA would become a permanent fixture in the company’s attempts to correct its culture.

As you may have seen yesterday, there was a communication supported by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) that asked employees to sign and submit union authorization cards. I want to be clear about this: The leadership of Activision Blizzard supports your right, under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), to make your own decision about whether or not to join a union.

As you make this decision for your future, we ask only that you take time to consider the consequences of your signature on the binding legal document presented to you by CWA. Once you sign that document, you will have signed over to CWA the exclusive right ‘to represent [you] for the purposes of collective bargaining concerning all terms and conditions of employment.” That means your ability to negotiate all your own working conditions will be turned over to CWA, just as the document says.

Achieving our workplace culture aspirations will best occur through active, transparent dialogue between leaders and employees that we can act upon quickly. That is the better path than simply signing an electronic form offered to you by CWA or awaiting the outcome of a legally-mandated and – regulated bargaining process sometime in the future.

Bulatao’s confidence in Activision-Blizzard’s ability to cultivate a non-toxic workplace is interesting, considering the company’s inaction has led to the resignation of people like Gonzalez and the doubling down on CEO Bobby Kotick’s position despite a mountain of evidence that he is complicit in the state of things. It’s just more proof the rot runs deep.

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