Activision Blizzard employees will participate in yet another walkout today, this time over concerns about employee safety in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Organized by A Better ABK, Activision Blizzard’s internal employee rights advocacy group, the walkout will take place at four of the publisher’s North American offices: California, Texas, Minnesota, and New York, where a new QA worker’s union was just organized.
“We are calling for protection of several communities of marginalized workers,” tweeted A Better ABK on July 6th as they announced the walkout. “Employees are actively facing state legislation that is putting women, LGBTQ+ employees, and their families at risk, with other vulnerable groups on the horizon.”
In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade, a number of video game companies expressed support for their employees’ right to reproductive healthcare and freedom. Bungie’s statement stood out as it also outlined a plan to add travel reimbursement to its healthcare plans should any employee or their dependents need to travel out of state for care.
Activision Blizzard has a similar travel reimbursement plan added in June, but A Better ABK feels that it inadequately addresses the problem.
“The presently offered $4,000 reimbursements for out-of-state medical care currently leave employees open to legal prosecution in their home state,” A Better ABK tweeted. “Travel reimbursements do not remove workers from imminent danger. Our demands ensure that our workers safely, affordably, and legally maintain access to life saving procedures like abortions and trans-affirming healthcare.”
In addition to demands concerning employee healthcare, A Better ABK also listed additional demands outside of immediate Roe v. Wade concerns, including an end to forced arbitration, clear and transparent dialogue with the internal Committee Against Sex and Gender Discrimination group, and a legal commitment to neutrality (like the one Microsoft just agreed to) for Activision Blizzard workers’ attempts to organize.
In a statement to The Verge, Activision Blizzard spokesperson Rich George commented on the walkout, saying:
“We support the right of our employees to express their views and values in a safe, responsible way, without fear of retaliation. There are numerous ways they can do so publicly or confidentially. Our leadership team remains focused on ensuring we are the very best place to work. This includes ensuring gender equity throughout the company and comprehensive access to reproductive and other healthcare services for every employee.”
The walkout, the company’s fifth over the last 12 months, also coincides with the one-year anniversary of the state of California’s suit against Activision Blizzard for fostering an environment of sexual abuse and discrimination.