Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard accused of illegal surveillance on workers

An unfair labor practice claim has been filed against Activision Blizzard, publisher of popular games such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.

In the claim, the American labor union Communications Workers of America alleges that Activision Blizzard “engaged in illegal surveillance of workers” in July, when workers staged a walkout protest to end gender inequity.

The CWA also allege in the claim that Activision Blizzard removed access to an internal chat channel where workers discussed wages and working conditions, as well as threatened to terminate other channels where workers freely talked about labor issues.

This is the second claim this year against Activision, as the CWA filed a charge earlier in the year.

That first claim was to push back against Activision telling its employees they could not discuss the sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit the company was fighting, which was filed by the state of California.

Activision is currently awaiting a potential buyout from Microsoft to the tune of nearly $69 billion, pending approval from various regulatory agencies worldwide.

Activision Blizzard employees protest the company’s alleged sexual discrimination policies during a demonstration in Austin, Texas on July 21, 2022.
Michael Mullenix/ZUMA Press Wire
Striking employees of the Video Game publisher Activision hold a walkout protest in Austin, Texas on July 21st, 2022.
Activision Blizzard has been accused of attempting to bust unionization attempts.
Michael Mullenix/ZUMA Press Wire

Microsoft has publicly announced its intent to allow unions to organize without interference, should the buyout conclude.

Activision Blizzard, however, has taken a different tact entirely, with the United States National Labor Relations Board finding that the company illegally threatened workers, and attempted to enforce a social media policy that restricted their rights.

Activision Blizzard has retained the services of Reed Smith, a union-busting company that has previously worked with the company to prevent Raven Software from unionizing. Raven Software successfully unionized in May of this year.

With Activision Blizzard’s flagship title, Call of Duty, losing more than 30 million users in one year and the termination of a mobile game based on World of Warcraft, the company is struggling on many fronts at the moment.

While the fate of the massive Microsoft deal is unknown, analysts suggest it could resolve sometime soon.

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