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Activision Blizzard changes vaccine decision after walkout

After pressure from employees, Activision Blizzard has changed course on plans to lift its vaccine mandate, and will now let individual studios decide

Last week, Activision Blizzard told employees it would end its vaccine mandate for workers returning to the office. Some employees protested the choice, announcing a walkout for Monday, April 4 (today, as this story goes live). Now, members of ABK Workers Alliance have announced that Activision Blizzard has reversed course, and now intends to let individual studios set their own vaccination and testing policies.

“ABK Leadership has heard our voice, and on Friday after our demands went public, they walked back on the immediate removal of the Vaccination policy, and are now allowing studios to create their own policies,” ABK Workers Alliance says in a statement on social media today. “We are currently aware that four Studios have reversed course, and have a vaccination/testing policy in place. We believe that by continuing to speak loudly, we can make a difference!”

Activision Blizzard said in a statement on Friday (via Polygon) that “for the majority of our employees, we are still operating under a voluntary return to office opportunity”. The company also said it “will not retaliate for any decision to participate in this walkout”.

ABK Workers Alliance is currently pushing for two key demands: to “make working from home an open and equitable option for all employees”, and to “reverse the lifting of the vaccine mandate for all other studios who haven’t yet walked it back”.

In July 2021, the state of California filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard alleging years of workplace discrimination and harassment. The story has since embroiled CEO Bobby Kotick and prompted the US federal government to open an investigation. It continues to unfold and to be of immense importance to the game industry. You can catch up on all the developments so far in this regularly updated explainer article.

The group says at least 117 employees have joined the walkout today.