Activision Blizzard accused of worker intimidation, union busting

The Activision Blizzard Booth during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles June 13, 2013. — Reuters pic
The Activision Blizzard Booth during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles June 13, 2013. — Reuters pic

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WASHINGTON, Sept 15 — Activision Blizzard has been accused of intimidating workers attempting to unionise, organisers said, just months after the US video game maker faced a state lawsuit over toxic workplace claims.

In August, the company behind Call of Duty and World of Warcraft promised change with a management shakeup following long-running allegations of sexism and discrimination.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) said yesterday they had “formally filed ULP (unfair labor practice) charges against the company for worker intimidation and union busting.”

In a statement, the union said employees had launched a “Better ABK” campaign following a July complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, accusing the firm of having fostered a toxic culture of harassment and sexism.

It was part of workers’ “strategic organising effort to unite developers behind a shared set of concerns.”

The CWA said Activision Blizzard was “using coercive tactics to attempt to prevent its employees from exercising their rights.”

“Management could have responded with humility and a willingness to take necessary steps to address the horrid conditions some ABK workers have faced,” said Tom Smith, CWA’s national organising director.

“Instead, Activision Blizzard’s response to righteous worker activity was surveillance, intimidation, and hiring notorious union busters.”

The allegations follow a walk-out earlier this year to protest sexism and harassment.

In August, the firm unveiled a management shakeup and launched what it promised would be a far-reaching review of its workplace practices after the California state lawsuit. — AFP

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