A few weeks ago, the QA division of Blizzard Albany – that is, the studio formerly known as Vicarious Visions that is working on Diablo IV – was pronounced eligible to unionize by the National Labor Relations Board. The decision followed several months of Activision-Blizzard’s attempts to head off the union by challenging its right to organize and deploying underhanded unionbusting tactics, the same things we saw it try (and fail) to do with the Raven Software unionization effort.
Well, apparently Activision-Blizzard is at it again, as yesterday the company announced it is appealing the NLRB’s October decision with the D.C. NLRB headquarters.
In his letter to workers, Diablo VP of Ops Simon Ebejer repeated the same misleading claims Activision-Blizzard has been using as its position the better part of this year against both unionization attempts; the company maintains that allowing QA to organize means giving a “handful” of employees control over the future of the whole studio and that any union should be company-wide. This is simultaneously misleading (as QA’s vote impacts only QA and other units within the studio are able to organize) and yet another tired unionbusting move in a very long line of well–documented and illegal unionbusting efforts (as the company aims to dilute the vote of its lowest-paid workers with the vote of its highest-paid workers, thereby completely undermining the point and purpose of the union being formed to protect the former).
In its earlier decisions, the NLRB specifically cited the wide pay disparities within the studio as a key reason to allow QA to organize. The Board also found last month that Activision-Blizzard acted in a deliberately retaliatory manner against unionizing Raven Software workers, and just last week the CWA filed yet another complaint against the company for unfair labor practices in regard to what it characterized as an exec’s “threats to withhold raises and benefit improvements from workers who joined the union” and implication that “union affiliation and/or support was under surveillance.”
“Extremely disappointing that ABK is attempting to thwart another democratic union election to distract from the series of discrimination & harassment allegations made against the company,” the Albany proto-union tweeted in response to Ebejer’s letter. “These efforts to undermine our organizing will fail. See you at the ballot count Nov. 18th.”
Extremely disappointing that ABK is attempting to thwart another democratic union election to distract from the series of discrimination & harassment allegations made against the company. These efforts to undermine our organizing will fail. See you at the ballot count Nov. 18th. pic.twitter.com/agh9XfstOv
— GWA Albany (@WeAreGWAAlbany) November 2, 2022