Following the announcement of mass layoffs of QA staff in one of Activision Blizzard’s studios, workers have announced via activist group A Better ABK Workers Alliance that they were initiating an indefinite strike until their demands are met. These demands include pay transparency, the reinstatement of laid off Raven employees, an “unbiased third party audit” of the company as a whole and more. A Better ABK has also set up a strike fund for those who wish to “join in solidarity”.
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. For those who wish to join in solidarity, please consider donating to our Strike Fund.https://t.co/IauGyxuLYG
— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) December 9, 2021
A Better ABK Workers Alliance has helmed several walkouts this past year, the first being in June to protest the company’s toxic work environment. More recently, near 200 employees walked out last week following the laying off of 12 quality assurance testers from Raven Software, a studio under Activision Blizzard.
The aforementioned walkouts were, ostensibly, temporary and reactive in nature. The current strike is a more long-term and proactive effort, with workers refusing to return to work until their demands are met.
A Better ABK has also begun actively working to create a worker’s union, handing out union cards. Should a union come to be, there could be major shakeups in store for Activision Blizzard.
Acti-Blizz hasn’t gone full Amazon with its anti-union efforts but it’s still not pleased with the idea of one. Chief Administration Officer Brian Bulatao reportedly sent a letter to employees urging caution against unionising. As a high-ranking member of corporate would. The letter expresses that open communication between management and employees (which would allegedly be hampered by a union) is vital for improving company conditions. As if management hasn’t been directly responsible for abusing and silencing employees for years now.
A Blizzard employee took to Twitter following Bulatao’s letter to share their recent experience with him, alleging that he called them on their personal cell phone “in order to intimidate [them] over an initiative [they] had begun in the company about WFH [Work From Home] Equity.”
Regarding the ongoing strike, workers will apparently only be paid by Activision Blizzard from this Wednesday, so A Better ABK has set up a strike fund via GoFundMe. Alongside a general explainer for employee discontent and a timeline of events, a detailed explanation for where donations will be directed reads:
“Funds will be used first and foremost to assist with wages during the ongoing strike, as well as assisting with relocation of any Raven QA who had moved unassisted at the behest of A/B/K. Should any funds remain, they will be held for use in future collective actions to have our voices heard by the company.”
So far over $300,000 has been raised, with an end-goal of $1 million.