Activision Blizzard has been going through massive changes of late, brought about by widespread reports of a pervasive and long-standing company culture of abuse and harassment, which, in turn, has also brought about legal consequences for the company. And the controversies just keep piling on top of each other.
Recently, Activision laid off a number of QA staff at Call of Duty: Warzone developer Raven Software after allegedly asking them to relocate and promising them raises. The studio’s QA team was publicly against this, staging a walkout as the beginning of a movement that has since then garnered support from all corners of Activision at large.
With that, and with the multiple other incidents of collective action taken by company employees in recent months, calls for unionizing have become louder, with Activision Blizzard employees creating a strike fund and even working together with Communications Workers of America (CWA).
Unionizing, which gives employees more power and allows them to not be completely at the mercy of executive higher ups, is something that any company – especially one as large as Activision Blizzard – desperately wants to avoid, and as such, Activision Blizzard chief administrative officer Brian Bulato – formerly a member of ex-United States president Donald Trump’s administration – recently sent out a company-wide email to all employees (shared by former Activision Blizzard employee Jessica Gonzalez on Twitter), with some not-so-subtle attempts at discouraging any talks of unionizing.
Bulato writes in his email that Activision Blizzard “supports” the employees’ right to decide whether or not they want to unionize, as it’s legally obligated to, then going on to say that anyone who is considering making that decision should “consider the consequences” of the same.
“Your ability to negotiate all your own working conditions will be turned over to CWA, just as the document says,” Bulato writes in his email. “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.”
Considering the fact that “active, transparent dialogue” is something that Activision Blizzard as a whole has been severely lacking in, and the fact that the company’s leadership is proven to have been making unwise decisions (if you want to be polite about it) that have actively harmed the welfare of employees at large for a prolonged period, it doesn’t seem like Bulato’s argument – which is as vanilla as it can get when it comes to anti-union talk – has any legs to stand on whatsoever.
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