Activision Blizzard accused of trying to “muzzle workers’ voices”

"It's clear the company's executives feel threatened by workers organizing"

Activision Blizzard has filed a last-minute motion to impound the ballots of an ongoing unionisation vote within its Albany studio, arguing that the vote count should be postponed until a prior appeal is heard.

In a hearing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) earlier this year, Activision Blizzard argued that an ongoing unionisation effort at Albany should be expanded to include more developers.

The request was denied, however Activision Blizzard appealed the ruling – and because that appeal is yet to be heard, the company is requesting that ballot counting is put on hold until the appeal is heard (via GamesIndustry.biz).

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It’s a last-minute filing, as PC Gamer notes that employees eligible to vote were already sent their ballots on October 27.

“We deeply respect our employees’ right to choose whether to be represented by a union and to make an informed decision for themselves in a process where every voice is heard,” shared a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard.

Activision Blizzard King walkout unionisation
Activision Blizzard King walkout. Credit: Jessica Gonzalez.

“Given the significant impact this decision could have for everyone on the Albany-based Diablo team and the tight integration of our operations there, we believe strongly that each of the 107 eligible employees deserves to have their votes counted, not just the 18 quality assurance testers who are important employees but make up a small fraction of the team,” they continued. “We are pursuing an appeal to the NLRB regarding its proposed bargaining unit, because companies as well as union organizers have the right to make their case.”

However, Sara Steffens, secretary-treasurer at Communications Workers of America (CWA), says the union is “confident in the NLRB’s response to the frivolous requests.”

“Sadly, it’s no surprise that a company that has repeatedly tried to silence its employees, including by hiding reports of sexual violence, would want to muzzle workers’ voices once again by trying to stop them from voting in a union election,” added Steffens. “Workers have concluded that they need to protect themselves from this abusive employer by joining together into a strong union.”

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Activision
Activision office. Credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

“Instead of staying neutral, Activision’s management continues to present the same failing arguments in a desperate attempt to interfere with workers’ legal right to make their own decisions about forming a union and negotiating a collective bargaining agreement. It’s clear the company’s executives feel threatened by workers organizing in New York, Wisconsin and across the country.”

Last week, the CWA filed more unfair labour practice charges against Activision Blizzard, alleging the company’s chief communications officer had sent a company-wide message “disparaging the union, making threats to withhold raises and benefit improvements from workers who joined the union, and giving workers an impression that their union affiliation and/or support was under surveillance.”

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