Activision Blizzard workers go on strike, seek donations for wage assistance

Polycount

Posts: 3,005   +589
Staff member
In context: Months ago, California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard alleging widespread institutional sexism, inequality, and even harassment, particularly toward female employees from their male supervisors. After the suit went public, a cluster of disgruntled employees formed the ABK Worker's Alliance. This group seeks to hold its employer accountable through public demands and protests.

Now, the organization is taking the next step. Instead of merely expressing their discontent through Twitter posts and in-person protests, the ABK Workers Alliance is officially walking out and going on strike; but not just because of the harassment allegations. This demonstration was prompted by more recent events, in which roughly 1/3 of Activision Blizzard's Raven Quality Assurance team were given termination letters without warning. These lay-offs are set to take effect in late January, giving workers just a couple of months to find a new source of employment.

Previously, this team was reportedly encouraged to relocate to a new office location at their own expense, with the promise of "future raises and better conditions." Unfortunately, it seems those promises never materialized for Raven QA.

As such, the ABK Worker's Alliance refuses to end its strike until the fired Raven QA workers are reinstated and all team members are hired as full-time employees instead of temporary contractors. For reference, it is common practice for game developers and publishers to hire contractors to fill out their QA departments. These workers are typically cheaper and easier to dismiss than full-time employees, who often have extra rights, benefits, and protections depending on their state or region of employment.

Not all game companies participate in these regular firing sprees -- Nintendo executives are notorious for taking pay cuts to avoid lay offs -- but many do.

To support their members during this strike, the ABK Workers Alliance has started a GoFundMe campaign with a $1,000,000 goal. As of writing, the "ABK Strike Fund" page has received $214,444 in donations, and it only opened yesterday.

You can learn more about how the GoFundMe cash will be distributed on the actual Strike Fund page but, in short, strike organizers are aiming to "assist with wages" and help fired Raven QA members relocate if necessary.

In addition to the requests laid out above, the ABK Worker's Alliance is still holding firm to its original four demands, which were announced when the group first formed. The group wants:

  • ...an end to forced arbitration in employment agreements.
  • ...the adoption of inclusive recruitment and hiring practices.
  • ...increases in pay transparency through compensation metrics.
  • ...an audit of ABK policies and practices to be performed by a neutral third-party.

We'll let you know if anything comes of this strike, but ultimately, we hope participants can keep themselves and their families afloat during these difficult times.

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psycros

Posts: 4,080   +5,616
Activision Blizzard is dumpster fire.

I'd be amazed if anything these unionizers want would seriously improve things. "Inclusive hiring" is the death knell for any company, particularly one where technical skills are paramount. This is how you end up being replaced by an Asian H1B serf or unskilled token "minority".
 

Achaios

Posts: 355   +969
Too many Commies, remind me of the "Communist Party of Greece - KKE" a major political force in Greece, a country that has no less than eight different Communist Parties one of which, SYRIZA, governed the country for almost 6 years.

These commies have completely destroyed the vast majority of the country's industries with repeated strikes and requests for absurd benefits and payments.

I don't see much of a future for Blizzard unless Mike Morhaime & Co step in just b4 bankruptcy and buy the company out from Activision.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,669   +7,575
I'd like to see the company turned into a ESOP and see how well it operates. Not saying the programmers, etc. couldn't do a better job, I'd just like to see the changes they would make and if it would be better for the company AND the customers .....
 

Shaitan

Posts: 172   +195
Yeah, while I fully agree with the unionize movement, the imbeciles asking for "diversity hires" should be fired on the spot.
You are good at your job? Good. We hire you. Do you suck at your job? GTFO. I don't care if you're the only trans-woman-attack-helicopter etc.
If Starcraf III is made by a white-male-slave owners or a penguin killer black or Eskimo team: I do NOT care. What I do care about?
- great story
- no woke *****ic messages in games, no diversity and gender politics mentioned in the game
- no DLC
- no microtransactions
Want to have an inclusive, feminist-oriented story with political accents? Great. Do it. I won't pay for that crap.
Let's see how well the gender pronoun mob will survive when Blizzard is buried by the Twitter Feminazis. I am 100% sure I'll stay away from ANYTHING in games remotely related to political messages.
GET WOKE GO BROKE.
 

Pastuch

Posts: 138   +147
Too many Commies, remind me of the "Communist Party of Greece - KKE" a major political force in Greece, a country that has no less than eight different Communist Parties one of which, SYRIZA, governed the country for almost 6 years.

These commies have completely destroyed the vast majority of the country's industries with repeated strikes and requests for absurd benefits and payments.

I don't see much of a future for Blizzard unless Mike Morhaime & Co step in just b4 bankruptcy and buy the company out from Activision.

You do realize that the bulk of sexual harassment charges were at Blizzard right? They're the studio with a Cosby Suite. I understand that Blizzard used to make good games but that was literally 8+ years ago. It's been a dumpster fire for years but people are in denial.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,204   +2,593
TechSpot Elite
You do realize that the bulk of sexual harassment charges were at Blizzard right? They're the studio with a Cosby Suite. I understand that Blizzard used to make good games but that was literally 8+ years ago. It's been a dumpster fire for years but people are in denial.
I don't know so much that the employees were in denial, I think that was more that in the USA, if you're not employed, you're homeless without health insurance. That's how the private sector rules the USA, by making sure that the US government doesn't implement a healthy welfare state to protect people from predatory corporations like this.

Activision/Blizzard doesn't have a leg to stand on if they try to financially justify their actions. The amount that they rake in from WoW alone could probably sustain both they and Electronic Arts at the same time. They're just being greedy psychopaths and the proof of that is (as you can see) that only the psychopaths are on their side.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,204   +2,593
TechSpot Elite
I'd like to see the company turned into a ESOP and see how well it operates. Not saying the programmers, etc. couldn't do a better job, I'd just like to see the changes they would make and if it would be better for the company AND the customers .....
When you look at most corporations of this size, 99% of the incompetence is at the executive level.
 

Pastuch

Posts: 138   +147
I don't know so much that the employees were in denial, I think that was more that in the USA, if you're not employed, you're homeless without health insurance. That's how the private sector rules the USA, by making sure that the US government doesn't implement a healthy welfare state to protect people from predatory corporations like this.

Activision/Blizzard doesn't have a leg to stand on if they try to financially justify their actions. The amount that they rake in from WoW alone could probably sustain both they and Electronic Arts at the same time. They're just being greedy psychopaths and the proof of that is (as you can see) that only the psychopaths are on their side.
I'm not saying the employees are in denial, I'm saying the Blizzard fans still like to pretend that the company can make good games. They don't and haven't in 8+ years. At least Activision makes some quality products like Warzone
 

Achaios

Posts: 355   +969
I'm not saying the employees are in denial, I'm saying the Blizzard fans still like to pretend that the company can make good games. They don't and haven't in 8+ years. At least Activision makes some quality products like Warzone

"Îśists Of Pandaria" AKA "Kung Fu Pandaz" was a masterpiece, really, really nicely done and that was 7.5 years ago, so you are factually wrong.
 

Pastuch

Posts: 138   +147
"Îśists Of Pandaria" AKA "Kung Fu Pandaz" was a masterpiece, really, really nicely done and that was 7.5 years ago, so you are factually wrong.
I played mists and hated it but to each their own. The pvp in that one was awful... which is all I ever liked about wow.
 

umbala

Posts: 603   +1,007
I've been called racist before for saying I'm against diversity hires. Every company should hire the best possible candidate for every position they offer. Period. It should not be based on race, religion, sex, etc. I actually worked for a company in the past that hired incompetent "diversity" candidates instead of the best person for the job. If the best candidate for the job was a white guy, they didn't hire him because apparently we had too many white people working there. So they hired someone who had no clue what he/she was doing, but at least they weren't white.
 

Shaitan

Posts: 172   +195
I've been called racist before for saying I'm against diversity hires. Every company should hire the best possible candidate for every position they offer. Period. It should not be based on race, religion, sex, etc. I actually worked for a company in the past that hired incompetent "diversity" candidates instead of the best person for the job. If the best candidate for the job was a white guy, they didn't hire him because apparently we had too many white people working there. So they hired someone who had no clue what he/she was doing, but at least they weren't white.

Diversity hires are a cancer... People promoting this should be fired immediately.
Either you are good at your job or you're not. I couldn't possibly case less of you are black, white, green, straight, whatever. Do your effing job. That's it.
This woke madness will end. And the feminazis just won't get jobs. I wouldn't hire a crazy chaos-inducing rage activist-mobster to wreck my company.
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,454   +1,031
Staff member
I'd like to see the company turned into a ESOP and see how well it operates. Not saying the programmers, etc. couldn't do a better job, I'd just like to see the changes they would make and if it would be better for the company AND the customers .....
This^^
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,204   +2,593
TechSpot Elite
I'm not saying the employees are in denial, I'm saying the Blizzard fans still like to pretend that the company can make good games. They don't and haven't in 8+ years. At least Activision makes some quality products like Warzone
Ah, I understand what you mean now and I couldn't agree more. I often feel the same way about Electronic Arts. They're a LOOOOOONG way from what they were when they released Starflight.

The problem with these corporations is the economic model that they try to follow at all costs. The idea that profit must increase perpetually year-over-year. Eventually, the human ability to innovate comes to an end and the only way to (blindly) follow that model is to start abusing employees and/or screwing customers (getting worse and worse every year).

When I think of some of the legendary software companies that are no longer in existence like Sierra On-Line (King's/Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry), Epyx and Broderbund, companies that RULED the PC gaming world, I realise that this has to be the reason that they failed. If they had just kept the same practices year-over-year, sure, their short-term profits might have been less but they would have become stronger as companies, not weaker and certainly not dead like they are now.

Unfortunately, modern capitalism prioritises short-term profits over long-term sustainability. I'd love to meet the man who thought that was a good idea and smack him upside the head with a shovel.