Back in February, Blizzard held a meeting that, among other things, confirmed a mandated return to office work and an end of remote work. That matter is being brought to light once again by the proto-union A Better ABK, which provides further details on what has been happening at the studio since then.
During the meeting, employees raised objections about the policy, followed by Blizzard PR making noncommittal claims about providing accommodations. The reality of that, however, is vastly different: According to the Twitter thread, employees who made such requests have mostly been denied, while WFH requests for medical reasons reportedly “haven’t been able to get much traction.”
It’s this feet-dragging and outright refusal that leads A Better ABK to argue that the policies are being enacted for “malicious” reasons: to instigate a “quiet layoff” and drive out union organizers who tend to support marginalized groups like the disabled and chronically ill.
When these concerns were brought to Blizzard leadership in an open letter, the proto-union reportedly received a dismissive response that notes union membership doesn’t necessarily guarantee work-from-home rights. Finally, the group stated that it filed an unfair labor practice complaint over Blizzard’s firing of employees who used foul language when voicing their displeasure at the mandate.
“This heavy-handed policy will do damage to our workers and our products and is wholly unnecessary when we have the monetary ability to allow employees to work from where they choose to,” reads part of the thread. “To enact this policy with no regard for the personal situations of hundreds of employees is an incredible disservice.”
Readers will note that suffering from attrition does not appear to be a problem with Blizzard, as that February meeting is when president Mike Ybarra suggested those who disagree with the RTO policy should go somewhere else. Regardless, A Better ABK reiterated its promise to continue “holding [ABK] leadership accountable and fighting to make [its] workplace a safe one that is free of harassment and retaliation.”
On February 13th, Activision Publishing announced in a quarterly meeting that their employees would be returning to the office in April. Similarly, Blizzard announced that their employees would return to the office in July.
— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) March 19, 2023