The ABK Worker Alliance, made up of employees at publishing giant Activision Blizzard, have called on supporters today to donate to a strike fund to support an ongoing work stoppage over recently announced layoffs. It’s the latest move in an ongoing protest of their management’s response to months of lawsuits and reports about widespread sexual harassment and discrimination across the company.
“Today, the ABK Worker’s Alliance announces the initiation of its strike,” the group wrote on Twitter. “We encourage our peers in the Game Industry to stand with us in creating lasting change.” The ABK Worker Alliance also linked to a strike fund set up on GoFundMe, where it calls on supporters to help it raise $1 million to take care of employees during the stoppage.
The GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign reads:
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.
It’s currently raised over $28,000 in just a few hours.
The Washington Post’s Shannon Liao reports that the ABK Worker Alliance will also be calling on employees across Activision Blizzard to sign union authorization cards in a new massive step toward unionization in collaboration with the Communications Workers of America.
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These latest labor actions come as quality assurance testers at Raven Software, the studio in charge of Call of Duty: Warzone, walked off the job earlier this week to protest recently announced layoffs. While 500 contractors across Activision Blizzard would be converted to full-time, the company said 20 would be terminated near the end of January, a move Raven developers said would hurt Warzone’s ongoing development and maintenance. Over 60 QA staff and other developers from other offices joined in the walkout as the week went on, and according to The Washington Post, those still involved are no longer being paid.
It’s currently unclear how many will be involved in the larger work stoppage ABK Worker’s Alliance announced today. Last month, over 1,500 employees at the roughly 10,000 person company signed a letter calling on CEO Bobby Kotick to resign after a bombshell report by The Wall Street Journal implicated him in the publisher’s past mistreatment and toxic workplace culture. “If I lose my job due to unionizing, fine, but I’d rather make this place worth working here,” one striking employee told Polygon.
Yesterday, an employee named Christine held a press conference outside of Blizzard’s Irvine office, where she recounted being groped and sexually propositioned by supervisors, and later demoted after reporting the misconduct to HR. Her attorney, Lisa Bloom, called on Activision Blizzard to expand a previously announced $18 million settlement with federal regulators into a $100 million fund for victims.
Activision Blizzard and ABK Worker’s Alliance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Clarification: 12/9/21, 11:08 a.m. ET: Updated story to make clear the strike fund is in support of a work stoppage that was already ongoing.
Update: 12/9/21, 11:34 a.m. ET: Added more context around new unionization push.