Activision Blizzard exec asks workers to “consider the consequences” of unionising

The letter has been called "union busting" by a former employee

A high ranking executive at Activision Blizzard penned an open letter to the company’s employees that warned them of the “consequences” of joining a union.

Brian Bulatao, the chief administrative officer of the embattled publisher and former Under Secretary of State for Management in the Trump administration, wrote to employees last Friday (December 10) over plans to unionise. Several staff members have already joined the Communication Workers of America union.

“We ask only that you take time to consider the consequences of your signature on the binding legal document presented to you by CWA”, Bulatao wrote. “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.”

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Bulatao’s letter was shared to Twitter by Jessica Gonzalez, a former employee of Activision Blizzard who resigned from the company – and games development as a whole – in November.

Although Bulatao emphasised, “I want to be clear about this: The leadership of Activision Blizzard supports your right, under the the [sic] National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), to make your own decision about whether or not to join a union”, the letter was called “union busting” by Gonzalez.

The letter from Bulatao came a day after Activision Blizzard workers moved to unionise and launched a strike fund to support employees taking action against the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher.

Many Twitter users have criticised Bulatao’s letter, calling the language “fearmongering” and “condescending and threatening“, while others have suggested that Bulatao’s wording is corporate fear that “you will take away our right to screw you over“.

Bulatao’s letter argues that “achieving our workplace culture aspirations will best occur through active, transparent dialogue between leaders and employees that we can act upon quickly,” and that such arbitration 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.”

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However, as pointed out by GamesIndustry.biz, if 30 per cent of Activision Blizzard workers sign up to the union, the National Labor Relations Board would then conduct a certification election. If a majority voted in support of the organisation, that would then certify a union for collective bargaining, which carries far greater power than individual employees enjoy.

Elsewhere, Microsoft has launched its Xbox making-of documentary Power On, with all six episodes available to watch online for free.

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