The Game Workers Alliance Albany logo, referring to a dispute the union is having with Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard Accused Of Trying To Stifle Albany Union

August 4, 2022

By: Joseph Allen

 
 

Activision Blizzard has been accused of mounting a "futile" effort to try and disband the Blizzard Albany workers' union. The union says the company has spent "hundreds of thousands of dollars on a union-busting firm" and that ABK is delaying the recognition of its union in an attempt to get rid of it.

What has the Blizzard Albany union said about Activision Blizzard?

Last month, Blizzard Albany QA workers declared they would form a union, calling for a change in the industry when it came to the recognition of QA workers. Now, the Game Workers' Alliance Albany branch has taken to Twitter to accuse Activision Blizzard of trying to union-bust. The union says Activision has "made a clear and conscious decision" to deny basic labor rights while spending money on union-busting initiatives, despite the fact that 95% of Blizzard Albany workers have apparently signed representation cards.

 

A gameplay screenshot of the Activision Blizzard game Diablo 2: Resurrected, on which Blizzard Albany worked
Blizzard Albany, formerly known as Vicarious Visions, has worked on several Activision projects including Diablo 2: Resurrected.

Blizzard Albany points to Raven Software, with whom Activision Blizzard recently pledged to enter into "good faith negotiations" over unionization, as an ideal precedent for its own unionization efforts. However, in a turn of events that the Albany studio describes as "unfortunate and unsurprising", Activision Blizzard has instead apparently decided to try and put an end to the union. Albany says it's still willing to "engage with management productively", but that it's more than ready to fight for the "formal legal recognition our union deserves".

Activision Blizzard's battles with its own employees continue

It seems there's no worse enemy in the world for Activision Blizzard than its own employees. The company has been accused of trying to interfere with the formation of unions on multiple occasions and has had an NLRB complaint filed against it by the Communication Workers of America owing to alleged violations of federal labor laws. Not only that, but employees also recently staged a walk-out concerning Activision's healthcare policies, which they said no longer protected their basic civil liberties. That's not to mention the ongoing battle involving allegations of toxic workplace culture and harassment, which have seen Activision Blizzard make moves like recommending their shareholders ignore calls for a harassment report and claim that there's "no evidence" execs ignored harassment.

 
 
A banner showing some of the properties acquired in the recent Microsoft Activision Blizzard acquisition
Some employees are hoping Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard improves conditions for them.

Of course, it's not just Activision Blizzard. Other companies like Nintendo are also being accused of anti-union activities, despite the fact that reports suggest almost 80% of workers in the gaming industry want to unionize. Game Workers' Alliance Albany seems convinced that Activision Blizzard's attempt to stifle its union will fail, just as the attempt to disband Raven Software's union did. We'll have to wait and see whether that pans out. Stay tuned to TechRaptor for more info about this.

Activision Blizzard has been heavily criticized over allegations of toxic workplace culture and sexual harassment. These criticisms have come from several U.S. state treasurers, the heads of both PlayStation and Xbox, and a group of activist shareholders, among many others. The company is also embroiled in lawsuits, unionization disputes with staff, and conflicts with government agencies.