Just a day after the Activision Blizzard Workers Alliance announced its plans to strike and called for employees to sign union authorization cards, leadership at the company has already sent out an email attempting to deter employees from unionizing.
A staff email was sent out today from Brian Bulatao, a former Trump administration officer now serving as an Activision Blizzard executive overseeing the Call of Duty Endowment. In the email, Bulatao reiterates that Activision Blizzard is required to “support” an employee’s right to make their own choice about unionization.
But in the next paragraph, Bulatao and Activision Blizzard attempt to dissuade their employees from signing union authorization cards and disparage the “binding legal document” being offered by the Communications Workers of America, the largest media labor union in the U.S. Bulatao says that unionizing would mean that employees will sign over all their collective bargaining power to the CWA. He also says that “active, transparent dialogue between [AB] leaders and employees” is “the better path than signing an electronic form offered by the CWA.”
This email was sent in response to the Activision Blizzard Workers Alliance’s publicly made plans to strike and sign union authorization cards, saying that AB leadership has continued to ignore the needs and demands of employees. One of its members, WoW UI engineer Valentine Powell, posted a lengthy Twitter thread yesterday explaining why they feel unionization is necessary. Powell acknowledges that a lot of the games industry is actually unionized outside of the U.S., but that “most game companies” have done a good enough job negotiating with employees that unions weren’t necessary.
Creating a union would begin negotiations with the company’s leadership, and during that time, the company will be unable to “make bad faith decisions that can result in coercive bargaining or retaliation against employees,” according to Powell.