A Better ABK's Worker's Alliance has announced a strike, effective today. This comes after days of walkouts by QA teams across Activision Blizzard in support of testers at Raven Software who were suddenly fired on Friday, some after recently relocating at their own expense to work at Raven.
This initiation of a strike follows a long series of events, including several federal and state investigations into allegations and documented instances of discrimination, abuse, sexual harassment, an overall hostile work environment, and even allegations of coverups at Activision Blizzard. The company's employees also held two walkouts following the California investigation and major lawsuit into the company's employment practices and again last month following the release of an investigative report by the Wall Street Journal on CEO Bobby Kotick's inaction to even accusations of covering up abuses that the company knew about.
Today, the ABK Worker's Alliance announces the initiation of its strike. We encourage our peers in the Game Industry to stand with us in creating lasting change. For those who wish to join in solidarity, please consider donating to our Strike Fund.https://t.co/IauGyxuLYG— ABetterABK ?? ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) December 9, 2021
This new strike action comes at a time when there is continued pressure on Kotick to resign or be removed, with a shareholder group also advocating for the company board, which has stood behind Kotick and doubled down on their faith in his leadership to turn around the company, to undergo changes. The sudden firings at Raven, with affected employees "in good standing" and claiming that Raven had promised positive changes, even in some cases leading to employees accepting a delay in expected raises and promotions to wait led to several days of walkouts so far.
To begin this new strike action isn’t surprising following the walkouts and solidarity this week and the growing frustration and new information that continues to come out from affected workers.
Yesterday, attorney Lisa Bloom joined her client, a Blizzard employee named Christine, who recounted her own experience with sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination at Blizzard. She said that working at Blizzard had been her dream job, but the treatment she recounted in the press conference, sometimes with a shaking voice and tearing up, was more of a nightmare. She talked of sexual requests from supervisors and inaction from HR, among other things.
Hers is one worker’s story, but others that have come forward and responses deemed insufficient seem at the heart of why A Better ABK is taking action now.
UPDATE: According to the Washington Post, A Better ABK's strike accompanies a unionization effort, in association with Communications Workers of America.