A Better ABK/ABK Workers Alliance, the labor rights group that started at Activision Blizzard, announced a strike on Twitter this morning. Recently resigned Senior Test Analyst Jessica Gonzalez has published a strike fundraiser (“ABK Strike Fund”) on GoFundMe. If you have disposable income, worker solidarity is a good way to celebrate this giving season.
The funds are intended to offset wages lost during the strike and to assist in relocating Raven Software employees who were forcibly encouraged to move by Activision Blizzard, and then terminated (which led to two days of walkouts earlier this week). The fundraiser page outlines employee grievances focused on a misogynistic and discriminatory workplace rife with sexual misconduct:
In June 2020, an article was published which highlighted the abuse, harassment and discrimination that occurred within Activision-Blizzard’s offices. Since then, Activision-Blizzard leaders have continually abused, union-busted, and remained apathetic to the wishes of workers.
In the months since, we’ve seen CEO Bobby Kotick and the Board of Directors protect abusers and only hold perpetrators accountable after the events were brought to light by outside media. We’ve seen Activision hire law firm WilmerHale, known for union busting, to disrupt and impede the improvement efforts of Activision-Blizzard workers. We’ve seen Raven Software workers lured by the promise of promotion, only to be terminated shortly after relocation on top of the already underappreciated and severely underpaid working conditions of ABK workers across the company. These, and many other events have caused an alliance of Activision-Blizzard employees to initiate a work stoppage until demands are met and worker representation is finally given a place within the company.
After everything, the Board of Directors still claims to remain confident in Kotick’s unfit and unproductive leadership. The Board of Directors includes: Reveta Bowers, Robert Corti, Hendrik Hartong III, Brian Kelly, Bobby Kotick, Barry Meyer, Robert Morgado, Peter Nolan, Dawn Ostroff, Casey Wasserman.
The announcement goes on to list a timeline of events from July to September this year showing Activision Blizzard’s inadequate response to worker concerns. Gonzalez resigned recently after helping organize the walkouts in the fall and earlier this year because CEO Bobby Kotick has refused to step down. The next day, it became public knowledge that state treasurers in California, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Oregon had requested a meeting with Activision Blizzard’s Board of Directors because maintaining a culture of abuse opens them up to legal liability that could be bad for their stock share price.
In more bad news for Kotick, the New York Times reports today that the SOC Investment Group-who manages over $250 billion in assets for union pension funds-is planning to demand that Kotick resign from Coca-Cola’s board of directors, saying he should focus on repairing things at Activision. Activision Blizzard has been the target of investigations by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and is currently under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.