Activision continues to make headlines for all of the wrong reasons.
Despite Microsoft apparently hoping to put the kibosh on Activision’s union-busting efforts –
Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion – the publisher is carrying on. This time they are fighting a unionization drive at Blizzard Albany.
Nearly two months after Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick announced the company would finally begin bargaining its first union contract with the Game Workers Alliance at Raven Software, staff at Blizzard Albany, currently working on Diablo IV, say the publisher is back to trying to union-bust. They accuse Activision Blizzard of rehiring the law firm Reed Smith to undermine their own organizing effort rather than voluntarily recognize the company’s second union.
“Instead of following Microsoft’s lead and committing to a labor neutrality agreement, Activision has made the clear and conscious decision to deny us our basic labor rights while once again spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a union-busting firm,” Albany Game Workers Alliance, which is organizing for things like better pay, healthcare, and work/life balance, among other issues, wrote in a press release Wednesday. The group says Activision Blizzard is re-enlisting the help of Reed Smith, an organization that offers “union-avoidance” services, in a “futile effort” to “delay recognition.” As the workers tell it, Reed Smith intends to urge the National Labor Relations Board to deny the individual QA group’s right to unionize.
Activision is pushing for a studio-wide unionization vote. It’s a strategy that the company already tried (and failed) with Raven Software. Activision’s move likely delays the unionization efforts for months as the National Labor Relations Board will need to settle the labor dispute.