Diablo Devs Say Activision Back To Its Old ‘Union-Busting’ Tricks

Diablo Devs say Activision is back to its old ‘union-breaking’ tricks

Almost two months after Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotik announced that the company would finally begin negotiating its first union contract with Raven Software’s Game Workers Alliance, employees at Blizzard Albany, who are currently working on Diablo IV, says the publisher returned to try to bankrupt the syndicate. They accuse Activision Blizzard of rehiring law firm Reed Smith to undermine their organizational efforts rather than voluntarily recognizing the firm’s second union.

“Instead of taking Microsoft’s approach and sticking to a labor-neutrality agreement, Activision made a clear and conscious decision to strip us of our basic labor rights while again spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a union-busting company,” said the Albany Game Workers Alliance, which regulates things like better wages and health care. and work-life balance, among other things, he wrote in a press release on Wednesday. The group says Activision Blizzard is re-asking for help from Reed Smith, an organization that provides “union avoidance” services, in a “futile effort” to “delay recognition.” Workers say, Reed Smith intends to urge the National Labor Relations Board to deny the right of individual QA groups to form unions.

When asked for comment, Call of duty The publisher didn’t say why law firm Reed Smith was being rehired or how much he was paying, but reiterated that he would pay for a studio-level vote on joining unions. “Given the significant impact this change could have on approximately 150 people in Albany (formerly Vicarious Visions), we believe every Albany employee who works at Diablo should have a direct say in this decision; company spokesperson Rich George said in a statement via mail. Email: “This should not be done by less than 15% of employees.”


The Albany-based team is an integrated group that shares a focus on the game franchise itself and works on related game features and functionality. These employees share great commonalities in their work and maintaining cohesion during the complex game development and production process is essential.

Screenshot: Red Smith

This is the same guide the company brought up the last time when Raven Software first sought to form a syndicate. First, it integrated QA staff directly into other disciplines within the broader studio, and later argued that for this and other reasons, the entire studio should vote on the union rather than those in QA who already overwhelmingly supported it. Ultimately, the National Action Council sided with the workers, but it still delayed action for months.

Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard worked with Reed Smith, an international company that bragged on its website at the time to help companies avoid and fight unions. She even kept a PowerPoint presentation on her website that included slides on how unions pursued it Exploitation of lazy workers and strategies to convince workers that unions are a bad idea. This presentation has since been deleted.

Activision Blizzard’s renewed battle against unions comes just two months after Microsoft, which is currently poised to acquire it for $69 ($96 billion), said it would remain “neutral” in union efforts moving forward. Part of a campaign to get regulatory approval for the largest tech acquisition in history, it looks like it could point to a new Activision playbook as well. apparently not. The transaction is expected to close before June 2023.

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