Activision-Blizzard’s Proletariat drops request for union vote
by Danny Craig ·
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has withdrawn its union vote request, claiming that the Proletariat’s CEO, Seth Sivak, “made a free and fair election impossible".
- In December 2022, a group of Proletariat employees announced that they were forming a union and had already gathered enough support to win a vote.
- Activision-Blizzard refused to recognize the union's request for a vote and instead requested the process be handled through the National Labor Relations Board in order to gather "all of the information and various points of view" from employees. On Twitter, the group issued a response statement, claiming that the leadership's actions were "right out of the union-busting playbook.”
- The CWA has withdrawn its request for a union vote as a result of Sivak's "confrontational tactics," which included holding a series of meetings that "demoralized and disempowered the group". The CWA cited Microsoft's voluntary recognition of a union formed by 300 Zenimax QA employees as another path Proletariat could have taken that "empowers workers through a free and fair process, without intimidation or manipulation by the employer”.
- Following the announcement, a spokesperson for the publisher responded to gamesindustry.biz, saying, "We appreciate that the CWA has unilaterally decided to withdraw its petition in response to employee feedback," while denying the CWA's claim that Sivak was demoralizing staff, stating, "that is totally false... he was defending his employees' right to express their true preferences in a private vote so that they couldn't be targeted for their perspectives—like he himself is being targeted by the CWA right now”.
In other Activision-Blizzard news:
- A lead developer on World of Warcraft has left Blizzard after 17 years following the implementation of a stack-ranking system within the company. Lead software engineer Brian Birmingham quit his position at the studio after he was required to lower the ranking score of an employee from "successful" to "developing," placing them in the bottom 5% of employees and hurting their chances of securing a bonus or future promotion.
- The 100-person NetEase team behind the operation of Blizzard titles in Mainland China has been dissolved after 14 years, with Chinese players now needing help to play games such as World of Warcraft, Overwatch 2, and StarCraft 2 as of January 23. Before closing services, Activision-Blizzard approached NetEase with an opportunity to extend the partnership for an extra six months as it negotiated with other potential partners, which NetEase declined due to said potential partners allegedly being offered three-year contracts instead. The statement came after NetEase employees live-streamed themselves smashing a World of Warcraft statue.
- California and Washington’s new pay transparency laws now require all employers within the states to make a job’s pay information publicly available. Due to this, many have spotted that Blizzard appears to be paying their QA staff considerably less than those in similar positions at Bungie and Riot Games.