Activision Blizzard workers plan walkout over Roe v Wade protections

ABK Workers Alliance, which represents workers from Activision Blizzard, is demanding better protections for employees following the overturning of Roe v Wade

Activision Blizzard workers, represented by the ABK Workers Alliance, are planning a walkout action on July 21, demanding better corporate protection for employees following the overturning of Roe v Wade, as well as greater transparency for how the studio conducts internal investigations into harassment.

Writing on Twitter, the group – which was formed in 2021, in response to a lawsuit brought against Activision Blizzard regarding sexual harassment against some of its employees – explains that ABK’s Committee Against Sex and Gender Discrimination is demanding protections for employees from “external threats like the recent overturn of Roe v Wade, and internal threats such as retaliation and harassment while in the workplace”.

“In light of the recent attacks on the civil liberties of our employees, the employee-led Committee Against Sex and Gender Discrimination has scheduled a walk out action on July 21, 2022,” ABK writes. “Employees are actively facing state legislation that is putting women, LGBTQ+ employees, and their families at risk, with other vulnerable groups on the horizon.”

Thirteen US states, including Texas and Arkansas, where Activision Blizzard has offices for its publishing division, have begun the process of outlawing abortions since Roe v Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court on July 24. In response, the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft developer has expanded its employee healthcare plans to assist workers affected by the decision, with ABK reporting that the company currently offers reimbursements of up to $4,000 for employees seeking out-of-state medical care. However, the group argues that Activision Blizzard workers are still “open to legal prosecution in their home state”, and that travel reimbursements “do not remove workers from imminent danger”.

“For background on why this walkout is being held, the company’s current healthcare policies do not adequately protect the workers of ABK,” the group continues. “Our demands ensure that our workers safely, affordably, and legally maintain access to life-saving procedures like abortions and trans-affirming healthcare.”

The walkout is also planned to highlight claims of sexual and gender harassment against some Activision Blizzard employees. In June, Activision Blizzard published the findings of an internal investigation, claiming that despite some instances, there was no evidence of “systemic harassment” at the company. ABK is now demanding that employees are included as part of any future audits into sexual harassment.

On the same day that ABK announced its walkout plans, The Los Angeles Times published an interview with Blizzard president Mike Ybarra, who says that the company is “committed” to changing its culture.

“No doubt this has impacted people,” Ybarra says. “It has impacted morale. We’re listening to our employees. I’ve always firmly believed that when there’s a good culture across teams, creative excellence flows.”

We have contacted Activision Blizzard for comment and will update this story with any new information.

You can catch up with all the developments regarding the ongoing Activision Blizzard lawsuits with this explainer article.