In a landslide majority vote, Activision Blizzard‘s shareholders have turned down a union policy proposal that would have ensured the company’s commitment to not interfering with any employee unionization efforts. The company, host to some of the biggest video games worldwide from MMORPGs like World of Warcraft to iconic FPS titles such as Call of Duty, has deemed the proposed policy “not necessary.”
The AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund, affiliated with the Communication Workers of America’s union group, initially submitted the proposal. The investment arm has organized quality assurance workers at Activision Blizzard’s Albany and Raven Software studios. If it had gone through, the non-binding proposal would have pushed Activision Blizzard to “adopt and publicly disclose a policy on its commitment to respect the international human rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining.”
The proposal would also call for the company to adopt a process allowing for the identification of any violation of the policy, and subsequent prompt punishment of such violation. The Equity Index Fund aimed for the proposal to apply to Blizzard Activision’s global operations, preventing management from getting in the way of workers’ rights to unionize or from pressuring workers to not exercise those rights.
Activision Blizzard allegedly advised its shareholders to not vote in favor of the proposal, stating that it was not necessary as the company “strongly supports employee freedom of association and has a demonstrated history of good faith collective bargaining.” The publisher went on to say that the policy would only “fundamentally undermine” its “free speech rights.”
In the end, 65% of the votes cast were against the proposal while just 35% were placed in favor of the policy. According to GamesIndustry.biz, the Communication Workers of America “has lodged several complaints with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the company of retaliating against employees trying to unionize, threatening staff for discussing wages and working conditions, and other violations of employee rights.”
It is important to note, however, that some of the complaints ended up withdrawn by the Communication Workers, with the union explaining its withdrawals by stating that Activision Blizzard had “agreed to post a company-wide notice informing workers of their rights” while also agreeing to rescind any disciplinary action against an employee.