May 26, 2022

These were difficult times for Activision Blizzard employees as they faced sexual harassment scandals, a historic Microsoft acquisition, and textbook examples of union violations. Then, last week, Brian Bulatao, chief administrator of the gaming giant, sent an email to all US employees asking them to return to the office in June after more than two years of working from home during the pandemic.

“With immediate effect, we are revoking our vaccination mandate for all American workers,” Bulatao wrote in a leaked message by Jessica Gonzalez, a former Activision Blizzard engineer and current labor organizer. Alliance of ABK WorkersThis means employees no longer need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to return to work.

Workers have raised concerns about the plan, which would make returning to work particularly unsafe for uninsured workers. Activision-Blizzard has about 10,000 employees, although they are scattered across several offices around the world. But the removal of vaccination mandates and other tactics aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 has made some activists short-sighted and violent. So, on April 1, ABK Workers Alliance announced His intention is to organize a virtual strike.

Shortly thereafter, Bulatao denied his report, stating that individual studios could choose whether to comply with the vaccination mandate, but members of the ABK Workers’ Alliance found the response unsatisfactory.

Kate Anderson, Quality Assurance Specialist at Activision, said: “Once we got underway with our requirements and intent to leave, management quickly responded by announcing that they would allow individual sites to enforce their vaccination policy.” “It shows us the power of collective action.”

At least 117 employees, including Anderson, held a planned virtual walkout today, demanding that the company grant the ability to work from home to all employees and reinstate vaccination mandates for all studios that have not yet done so. According to a Blizzard engineer four studios Vaccine requirements have been reinstated, including: blizzardI

As Activision Blizzard is going through a difficult period, a quality tester at Raven Software — the division of Activision Blizzard that primarily works on Call of Duty — has created the first Game Workers Alliance at a major US gaming company. . Unsurprisingly, the company has not voluntarily recognized the 34-person division, meaning they must run an election through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“We are proud to have applied to the NLRB because the majority supports our union and we know that together we will get the formal legal recognition we deserve,” the union, which works together, said. communications worker of america (CWA) said in a statement at the time.

Anderson believes that unionization will help develop a plan to return to the office in situations like this.

“I think it’s incredibly important to consult with employees when making such important decisions, especially when it affects the health and safety of employees,” Anderson told gaming-updates. “We could sit at the table with the union.”

Other major tech companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon have introduced flexible work policies that allow employees to work from home at least a few days a week.

“Many of us have been working from home since 2020,” Anderson said. “We have seen other companies adopt a hybrid telecommuting/office model, basically letting their employees choose what works best for them. There is no reason why ABK can’t do this.”

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