Blizzard Albany accuses Activision Blizzard of union busting

Blizzard Albany accuses Activision Blizzard of union busting

Workers at Blizzard's Albany studio have come out swinging against parent company Activision Blizzard.

In a thread on Twitter, the Game Workers Alliance Albany branch said that the Call of Duty giant was once again spending huge sums of money on Reed Smith, a law firm known for its union-busting credentials. This was the same outfit that Activision Blizzard hired in an attempt to discourage QA staff at Raven Software from unionising.

The Game Workers Alliance union at Raven was successfully elected into being earlier this year.

"It appears that Activision Blizzard’s management has once again decided to take the low road by choosing to fight against our union in spite of the fact that 95 per cent of us have signed union representation cards," Game Workers Alliance Albany wrote on Twitter.

"Instead of following Microsoft’s lead and committing to a labor neutrality agreement, Activision has made the clear and conscious decision to deny us our basic labor rights while once again spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a union-busting firm.

"After the failure to recognize the will of the workers at Raven Software, Activision has been given another chance to redeem itself in the eyes of not only its workers but also the public. There was reason to think this time could be different."

Asked for comment, Activision Blizzard Rich George said: “Given the significant impact this change could have for roughly 150 people in Albany (formerly Vicarious Visions), we believe every employee in Albany who works on Diablo should have a direct say in this decision; it should not be made by fewer than 15 per cent of employees.

"The team based out of the Albany location is an integrated group that shares a focus on the same game franchise and works on related game features and functionality. These employees share significant commonalities in their work and maintaining cohesiveness throughout the complex game development and production process is essential."

Workers at Blizzard Albany announced their intention to unionise in July

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.


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