Activision Blizzard has reportedly responded to union organization attempts by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in an email to employees.
Several employees at Activision Blizzard are engaged in efforts to organize, supported in part by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Labor Union. An executive from the company has responded to these efforts with an e-mail shared with employees.
December 10, 2021
Activision Blizzard's Response to Union Organization Called 'Union Busting' by Some
The response to union organizing efforts by Activision Blizzard was shared on Twitter by Jessica Gonzalez, a Senior Test Analyst at Blizzard Entertainment who had announced her resignation from the company last month on Twitter.
Here is what the e-mail said in full according to Jessica Gonzalez's tweet:
At Activision Blizzard, we are working hard to create a more inclusive, supportive, and rewarding environment, and thanks to your input, we are making progress.
In the past few months, we've announced that we're converting nearly 500 temporary workers to full-time employees at Activision Publishing studios, and we have increased wages for a large portion of temporary workers and added paid time off benefits. We introduced a zero-tolerance harassment policy and waived required arbitration of sexual harassment and discrimination claims. We have made significant commitments to increase gender diversity and are dedicating $250 million to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent across the industry. We have more to do, and we believe that direct dialogue between management and employees is essential to the success of Activision Blizzard.
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 that 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.
If we fail to achieve the workplace goals we have set forth [--] if we fail to do the things we've committed to doing [--] then of course you will still always have the right to engage with, and vote for, CWA. But we are confident that we will make the progress we've previously pledged to make and create a workplace with you that we all can be proud of.
As always, we welcome outreach with concerns or ideas to help make improvements, and there are multiple avenues internally for dialogue, both direct and anonymous.
The email was written by Activision Blizzard Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Brian Bulatao. Bulatao had previously served as the Under Secretary of State for Management at the U.S. Department of State from 2018-2021 and as the Chief Operating Officer at the Central Intelligence Agency from 2017-2018; his government work also included 7 years of service in the United States Army from 1986-1993. In the private sector, he worked in several executive positions at Highlander Partners, Pallas Capital Partners, and Nefab Americas (among other companies).
Jessica Gonzalez categorized Bulatao's message as a "[union-busting] email" in her tweet; it has also received an outpouring of criticism on Twitter from media personalities such as Jesse Cox, Patrick Klepek, and others.
In recent weeks, Activision Blizzard has faced criticism over the allegations of a toxic work culture from several U.S. state treasurers, the heads of both PlayStation and Xbox, and a group of activist shareholders.