Activision Blizzard workers launch strike fund and make moves to unionise

Potentially a big step forward

Activision Blizzard workers have launched a bid for unionisation, and have also opened a GoFundMe page asking people to donate to a strike fund.

On Twitter, the worker group ABetterABK announced the strike, writing: “Today, the ABK Worker’s Alliance announces the initiation of its strike. We encourage our peers in the Game Industry to stand with us in creating lasting change.” The tweet goes on to ask people to consider donating to the strike fund as a sign of solidarity.

A goal of around £750,000 ($1million) has been set and would be used for the current work stoppage as well as any future strikes, as workers have been striking since Monday. At the time of writing the fund currently sits at just under £40,000 ($51,000), with the amount rapidly increasing. The page was set up by Jessica Gonzalez, an organiser of ABetterABK who resigned from the company last month.

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According to a report from The Washington Post, company management has informed workers they would be paid their wages Monday through to Wednesday, but not past that. Workers who continue to strike Thursday onwards will either have to use their accrued paid time off or simply go unpaid.

Activision Blizzard employees have collaborated with media labour union Communications Workers of America, and are asking workers to sign union authorisation cards. This is the first step that workers need to take to potentially form a company-wide union at Activision Blizzard. No video game company is unionised in the states currently, so it would be incredibly significant if ABK workers were able to do so. One employee, who requested anonymity, told The Washington Post they signed the union card because “it’s the only option.”

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

Video game lawyers Richard Hoeg told Eurogamer that, “Under the National Labor Relations Act, employees have the right to collectively bargain through a union if a majority of employees agree.” Hoeg went on to explain, “Most often this is done by a secret ballot vote (which folks may recall seeing most recently with Amazon), but in order to determine whether such a vote is necessary, the Act requires 30 percent of the employees that would be subject to the union to request it. We generally refer to those requests as ‘union cards’ or ‘union authorisation cards’, and it appears that potential union organisers within Activision have distributed those cards to sign (or not) as of today.”

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The news follows the recent announcement that layoffs are occurring at Raven Software, a subsidiary of Activision, in which workers there are also striking.

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