Thursday morning, the Activision Blizzard King Workers Alliance announced that it was officially initiating a strike. Announced on Twitter, the ABK Workers Alliance asked peers across the video game industry to stand with the group in solidarity. The decision focuses on an ongoing strike by workers at Raven Software who are protesting Activision Blizzard laying off a dozen Quality Assurance developers following months of crunch and promises for improved pay and benefits.
To help support the ongoing strike at Raven and among other Activision employees showing solidarity, the ABK Workers Alliance has launched a fund which supporters can donate to. The ABK Strike Fund is attempting to raise $1 million, which will be used to help support striking workers should Activision Blizzard deign to no longer support them during their walkouts. The fund has so far raised just over $39 thousand from nearly 600 individual donations.
Action is being taken Thursday due in part to an Activision Blizzard directive regarding the Raven protest. The company reportedly told workers that they would be compensated for the walkout from Monday through Wednesday, but Thursday’s walkout and beyond would no longer be supported. Activision Blizzard workers who walk out will either be unpaid or will have to use their paid time off to continue supporting the walkout. The ABK Strike Fund could be used to support these workers, as well as future strikers.
To be clear, the ABK Workers Alliance is not an official or recognized union. It’s a group of Activision Blizzard employees pursuing improvements within the company which initially revolved around gender discrimination and workers’ rights. However, it’s being reported that today’s strike announcement is also being used as a push to help unionize Activision Blizzard. Union authorization cards are being distributed, which could potentially lead to a vote on whether Activision Blizzard will unionize.
Raven’s QA team has previously made clear that it has a singular demand, which is that the entire team be offered full-time positions including the twelve Raven employees previously terminated. It’s unclear if the ABK Workers Alliance’s strike’s goals align with Raven or if demands for Activision Blizzard have grown since.
What happens next is unclear. Activision Blizzard has been actively anti-union, including hiring union-busting law firm WilmerHale to execute its “internal investigations” into improving workplace inclusivity. Unions are difficult things to start, even without the threat of reprisal. For the time being, ABK Workers Alliance efforts include supporting Raven’s strike, which Activision has largely ignored so far, and growing support for unionization for Activision Blizzard workers alongside it.
Source: Washington Post