Activision Blizzard Employees Form ABK Workers Alliance, Submit Letter To Management Ahead Of Today’s Earnings Call


Activision Blizzard’s staff have fashioned a coalition of staff throughout the writer’s studios. The coalition, which calls itself the ABK Workers Alliance, is stepping as much as arrange the collective actions taken in response to the lawsuit allegations towards Activision Blizzard late final month, particularly criticizing the lawfirm the gaming big has chosen to audit the office.

The coalition of staff despatched a letter to administration at the moment, which is becoming contemplating Activision Blizzard is gearing up for its Quarter 2 earnings calls later this afternoon. Within the letter, the ABK Employees Alliance calls into query the selection of third-party auditor the corporate has known as in to evaluation its office insurance policies. 

The regulation agency WilmerHale has been described by many as a “union-busting” law firm that makes a speciality of “advising on union consciousness and avoidance.” As such, the ABK Employees Alliance penned a letter despatched to administration at the moment, criticizing the corporate’s selection of third-party auditor, in addition to reaffirmed its dedication to making sure its calls for are being taking significantly by administration. These calls for embody dropping pressured arbitration, adopting inclusive recruitment and hiring practices throughout Activision Blizzard’s varied firms, in addition to improved transparency concerning pay, in addition to a impartial third-party audit of the corporate insurance policies.

The letter additionally affirms what the worker teams are doing by means of initiatives led by staff within the firm to foster a greater setting, together with a brand new mentor program, month-to-month worker conferences, in addition to listening periods. 

That is the most recent in a sequence of actions organized by staff towards Activision Blizzard in response to how the corporate has handled the allegations brought forth by a California agency. Early on former and present staff sent a letter signed by well over 3000 people to management, in addition to organized a walkout in protest. Since then, talks of unionization within the video games business have solely heightened, with even former Blizzard developer and co-founder of Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet, Jeff Pressure, calling for unionization within the video games business. 

The letter itself, despatched to IGN, is printed in full under. This is not the one information to hit on the Activision Blizzard entrance at the moment forward of what’s going to appear to be a novel earnings name at the moment. Earlier at the moment it was introduced that Blizzard president J. Allen Brack would be “stepping down.” In his place, Blizzard has moved Jen Oneal, former head of Vicarious Visions, in addition to former Xbox government Mike Ybarra into the function of “co-leaders” at Blizzard. 

The letter printed on IGN (emphasis theirs):

To CEO Bobby Kotick and the Activision Blizzard government management crew,

We’re The ABK Employees Alliance, an organized group of present Activision Blizzard, Inc. staff dedicated to defending our proper to a protected and equitable office. That proper stays endangered because the tales of abuse and mistreatment proceed to develop in scope, and new accounts of harassment perpetrated by present Activision Blizzard staff have continued to emerge for the reason that publication of the DFEH’s lawsuit.

Final week, we took collective motion to demand higher working circumstances for girls and different marginalized teams at Activision Blizzard King (ABK) by writing an open letter signed by greater than 3,000 present staff. We organized the #ActiBlizzWalkout at Blizzard Leisure’s Irvine headquarters the place greater than 500 staff walked out and a whole lot extra participated just about world wide.

Our request for motion crosses studio strains, together with staff from Activision, Beenox, Blizzard Leisure, Excessive Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Sledgehammer Video games, Raven Software program, and Vicarious Visions. Our purpose is for the chief management crew to handle their response to the California DFEH lawsuit, acknowledge the fact of working circumstances throughout our group, and decide to significant change at Activision Blizzard.

We communicated an inventory of 4 calls for geared toward defending our most weak staff. These are: (1) an finish to pressured arbitration in employment agreements, (2) the adoption of inclusive recruitment and hiring practices, (3) will increase in pay transparency by means of compensation metrics, and (4) an audit of ABK insurance policies and practices to be carried out by a impartial third-party. Importantly, we demanded that this third occasion be chosen by an employee-led Range, Fairness, and Inclusion process power.

In response to our calls for, you wrote a letter to staff expressing a dedication to doing a greater job of listening. You mentioned you’ll do the whole lot potential to work with staff in enhancing our office. And but, the options you proposed in that letter didn’t meaningfully handle our requests. You ignored our name for an finish to necessary arbitration. You didn’t decide to adopting inclusive recruitment and hiring practices. You made no touch upon pay transparency.

One in all our calls for, a third-party audit of ABK practices and insurance policies, was ostensibly addressed by your determination to rent WilmerHale to conduct an inside evaluation. Whereas we commend the thought of hiring a third-party agency to carry out an inside evaluation, The ABK Employees Alliance can’t assist the selection of WilmerHale as an neutral reviewer.

We reject the choice of WilmerHale for the next causes:

? WilmerHale’s pre-existing relationships with Activision Blizzard and its executives create an unacceptable battle of curiosity.

Activision Blizzard has already been a shopper of WilmerHale, who you used to dispute the Various Candidate Search Coverage proposed by the AFL-CIO Reserve Fund and UAW Retiree Medical Advantages Belief [1] earlier in 2021.

Frances Townsend is thought to have relationships with a number of companions at WilmerHale, together with former FBI Director Robert Mueller [2].

? WilmerHale has a historical past of discouraging staff’ rights and collective motion. ? WilmerHale states on their public web site that their providers embody “advising on union consciousness and avoidance” [3].

WilmerHale used anti-collective motion ways of their work with Amazon & Uber [4]. In media portrayals, WilmerHale is recurrently known as a “Union Busting Agency” [567]. We’re already seeing the consequences of this ideology in actions that management has taken to limit our freedom of affiliation since final week, together with lowering the scale of listening periods and limiting entry to these periods.

? The WilmerHale accomplice main this investigation, Stephanie Avakian, makes a speciality of defending the rich and highly effective.

WilmerHale outlined Avakian’s work as: “…counseling and defending monetary establishments, private and non-private firms, hedge funds, accounting corporations, funding advisors, boards, company executives, and people dealing with regulatory and legal investigations and litigation with the federal government [8].”

In Stephanie’s speech highlighting her successes with the SEC, all of her important examples included achievements in favor of buyers, retail purchasers, and clients, however doesn’t as soon as point out staff or laborers [9]. We’d like authorized illustration that facilities on the issues of our present staff, slightly than buyers.

We name on you and your government management crew to do higher, and to completely handle our record of calls for. We is not going to abandon our trigger. Our ranks proceed to develop throughout a number of Activision Blizzard studios. Whereas there are structural issues that solely you possibly can handle, we’re already taking steps to enhance our office by means of a lot of employee-driven initiatives:

Employee-to-Employee Mentorship: We’re constructing a mentorship program the place staff can search profession recommendation, assist, and sponsorship from a community of colleagues in a protected exterior channel exterior firm communication networks.

Open Listening Classes: We’ll host listening periods that might be recorded and disseminated throughout the group to facilitate ongoing dialog, schooling, and emotional assist for workers.

Group Conferences: We’ll facilitate month-to-month worker conferences, in a safe exterior channel, to debate our issues, wishes, and progress towards attaining our targets. All present ABK staff are welcome to take part in these conversations.

As these actions present, we love our studios and care deeply for our colleagues. We share your expressed unwavering dedication to enhancing our firm collectively.

We’re doing what we will, and we name on you to do what we can’t.


The ABK Employees Alliance | Activision Blizzard Workers Type ABK Employees Alliance, Submit Letter To Administration Forward Of Right this moment’s Earnings Name


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