Diablo 2: Resurrected developer, Blizzard Albany, has publicly condemned “hostility” from Activision Blizzard, after the Diablo Immortal, Call of Duty, and World of Warcraft publisher allegedly delayed recognising Blizzard Albany’s new employee union.
In July, QA testers at Blizzard Albany, which has also co-developed Destiny and games in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, allegedly asked Activision Blizzard to voluntarily recognise a new workers union there. This followed after workers at Raven Software successfully voted to form the Game Workers’ Alliance, which would represent testers at the Warzone and Call of Duty series co-developer. The formation of the GWA marked the first such union at a major North American gaming studio.
Activision Blizzard initially responded to Blizzard Albany’s petition to unionise, saying, in a statement issued to The Washington Post, “we deeply respect the rights of all employees under the law to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union. We believe that a direct relationship between the company and its employees is the most productive relationship. The company will be publicly and formally providing a response to the petition to the NLRB (National Labour Relations Board).” However, Game Workers’ Alliance Albany, the union which workers at Blizzard Albany have petitioned to form, now says that Activision Blizzard is “choosing to fight” its efforts by delaying official recognition of the new union.
“It appears that Activision Blizzard’s management has once again decided to take the low road by choosing to fight against our union in spite of the fact that 95% of us have signed union representation cards,” says a GWA Albany Twitter account, which in July shared the initial announcement of Blizzard Albany’s intent to unionise. “Instead of following Microsoft’s lead and committing to a labour neutrality agreement, Activision has made the clear and conscious decision to deny us our basic labour rights while once again spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a union-busting firm. Almost every time this company has the opportunity to begin to repair its reputation and demonstrate that it respects its workers, it declines to do so.”
The GWA Albany Twitter account does not specify the law firm which it claims Activision Blizzard is using to fight its unionisation efforts, though the World of Warcraft creator previously retained Reed Smith LLP during its hearings with Raven Software, which the GWA Albany account references directly.
“After the failure to recognize the will of the workers at Raven Software, Activision has been given another chance to redeem itself in the eyes of not only its workers but also the public. There was reason to think this time could be different,” continues its statement. “But in an unfortunate and unsurprising turn of events, the company has chosen to delay recognition of our union in an futile effort to disband it. We remain willing to engage with management productively if ABK leadership will commit to high road labour standards. However, if Activision continues its hostility, we are more than ready to go forward and win the formal legal recognition our union deserves.”
PCGamesN has contacted Activision Blizzard for comment and will update this story with any further information. The publisher meanwhile remains engaged in a range of lawsuits regarding treatment of its workers, which you can read about via our comprehensive Activision Blizzard lawsuit guide.