The Campaign to Organize Digital Employees, known as CODE-CWA, has filed suit against Activision Blizzard for unfair labor practices.
As first reported by Protocol, this new suit, filed with the National Labor Relations Board, alleges Activision Blizzard engaged in intimidation and coercive tactics as employees fought to openly discuss pay discrepancy and their desire to end forced arbitration. CODE-CWA, a digital workers rights and labor organizer, filed the suit on behalf of A Better ABK — a group of Activision Blizzard employees working toward improving working conditions at what is one of the largest video game publishers in the US.
In July, the state of California sued Activision Blizzard for enabling a culture of “constant sexual harassment.” Shortly after news of the suit broke, Blizzard employees staged a walkout that drew national attention. A Better ABK was created around the time of the walkout but reflects the long-term and ongoing struggles of employees at the publisher.
A Better ABK released a list of demands that asks for, among other things, “an end to mandatory arbitration clauses in all employee contracts, current and future.” This newest suit, filed on September 10th, accuses Activision Blizzard of engaging in “coercive” behavior disruptive to A Better ABK’s attempts to effect change.
“If the NLRB rules in our favor, the ruling will be retroactive and we will set a precedent that no worker in the US can be intimidated out of talking about forced arbitration,” a Better ABK spokesperson writes on Twitter.
Activision Blizzard is undergoing a number of personnel changes since the lawsuit. J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment, stepped down August 3rd. Jesse Meschuk, the company’s head of global human resources, also left the company that same day. Today, Activision Blizzard announced it has filled two upper management vacancies. Julie Hodges, a senior VP at Disney, will take over as chief people officer and Delta Airlines finance VP Sandeep Dube is Activision Blizzard’s new chief operating officer.
Activision Blizzard did not respond to a request for comment. CODE-CWA did not respond in time for publication.