ABK reportedly tries to stall Raven Software’s union vote as DFEH and SEC issue new subpoenas


The process for Raven Software forming its Game Workers Alliance union was likely always going to be messy, but the burst sewage pipe of Activision Blizzard’s behavior has been something to grimly behold. Readers will recall that QA workers for the Call of Duty developer were heading to the NLRB to formalize their union with a supermajority vote. ABK responded by hurriedly restructuring union supporting QA workers and sending out union-busting internal emails, all while issuing a statement that says the company “deeply respects” workers’ right to organize.

The efforts to battle and delay the GWA’s formation continue according to a statement from the CWA and the supporting Communications Workers Alliance, which reports that ABK management “is using every procedural route possible to delay the vote in an attempt to undermine the workers,” presenting what was called an “exhaustive and dishonest case around Raven QA workers’ job descriptions and day-to-day workflow in order to prevent them from moving forward with their union election” as well as refusing to address worker complaints regarding compensation, work-life balance, and pay disparity.

“It’s past time for Activision Blizzard to recognize that we—the workers—have organized our union and we’re not backing down. […] We hope the NLRB doesn’t turn a blind eye to Activision Blizzard’s constant attempts to undermine Game Workers Alliance (CWA) and allows our union to move forward to a democratic election.”

In tangential news, the DFEH and the SEC are tightening the screws on Activision and Bobby Kotick, with both agencies issuing fresh subpoenas: The SEC has sent an additional subpoena to Activision as part of an investigation it launched last year into the company’s handling of sexual harassment claims, seeking records and communications as far back as 2016, while the DFEH subpoenas target directors tied to workplace issues as well as Los Angeles area police departments for records related to Kotick and 18 other current and former Activision employees.

Activision derided both agencies’ subpoena requests as an “extraordinary fishing expedition” and issued a statement to Kotaku that attacks the DFEH subpoenas in specific, claiming the requests are “yet another questionable tactic in DFEH’s broader effort to derail AB’s settlement with the EEOC” and that the DFEH is “impeding the meaningful progress at Activision Blizzard and delaying compensation to affected employees.”

Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees strike and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2022, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
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