Activision Blizzard employees vote to form a union; company accused of ‘threatening’ workers

Employees at a subsidiary of game company Activision Blizzard voted to unionize on Monday, the same day the already struggling game company was found guilty of threatening workers not to talk about working conditions. work by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

On the same day, a former Activision Blizzard employee also appealed the company’s $18 million settlement in a federal sexual harassment case.

The union vote involved about two dozen workers in the quality assurance department of Raven Software, a division of the Wisconsin-based games company.

Almost all participating workers voted in favor of the union, with only three votes against the union counted. Two ballots were disputed, but that’s not enough to change the count.

“We respect and believe in the right of all employees to decide whether to support or vote for a union or not. We believe that an important decision that will impact the entire Raven Software studio of approximately 350 people should not be made by 19 Raven employees,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said in a statement.

Activision had sought to block the workers’ petition to unionize, arguing that any union must include all of the approximately 230 employees, representing 80 different positions.

But the National Labor Relations Board ruled last month that the department could vote separately from the rest of Raven Software.

Shortly before Monday afternoon’s vote on the union, the NLRB issued an indictment against Activision accusing the company of threatening employees not to talk about wages, hours and working conditions, and of maintaining an “overbroad social media policy” that was in conflict with the workers. rights.

A spokesperson for Activision Blizzard denied the allegations in a statement.

“Employees can and do speak freely about these issues in the workplace without retaliation, and our social media policy expressly incorporates the NLRA rights of employees,” the spokesperson said.

“Our Social Media Policy explicitly states that it “does not preclude employees from engaging in disclosure of information protected by law, including, for example, employee rights in the United States protected by the National Labor Relations Act,'” they added.

Separately on Monday, a former Activision employee appealed an $18 million settlement between the company and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Activision settled a federal sexual harassment case with the EEOC in March for the $18 million settlement, but it still faces legal action from a California regulatory agency.

Former Activision employee Jessica Gonzalez appealed the settlement based on the terms of the settlement that require anyone who chooses to be part of the EEOC settlement to waive their rights to be part of the California agency’s lawsuit. against society.

“The court allowed Activision and the EEOC to retain the affected workers and others who had an interest in holding the company accountable for the process,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “Eligible employees should not have to waive their right to pursue other legal remedies if they agree to the settlement.”

The lawsuits stemming from allegations of sexual harassment and union pressure come at a time when Microsoft is making a deal to acquire the gaming company in a $70 billion deal.

–Updated 4:05 p.m.