A message from an Activision Blizzard VP posted in the company’s slack has been shared online that contains anti-union language.
Jessica Gonzalez, former Blizzard employee and ABetterABK founder and organiser, shared a message from VP of QA Christian Arends. The message was shared to staff via Slack, in a channel that most are unable to directly respond to. It starts by claiming that they support the staffs’ right to have these discussions. But it goes on to use anti-union messaging, by prioritising making “great games” for fans.
Arrends presented the message in a Q&A format, with one question reading “We heard that the union will protect employees and provide employees with job security?” Arrends responded to this message saying “Job security here at ABK rests with our ability to produce epic entertainment for our fans. A union doesn’t do anything to help us produce world-class games, and the bargaining process is not typically quick, often reduces flexibility, and can be adversarial and lead to negative publicity.”
Firstly, the opening line presents the idea that employees’ jobs are only secure as long as they are working and making games for consumers. There’s an implication that if you don’t work hard enough, and make fans unhappy, your job is on the line. When in reality, as proven by the recent firings at Raven Software, you can go as far as moving for your job, expecting to be hired full time, only to be fired.
the bargaining process
Secondly, the bargaining process is typically so slow because executives and managers are so hesitant to give workers everything they need to work efficiently.
Another question addresses the topic of union relationships with the company. “In a direct relationship model, where you and the company share goals, agreement is quick, and the company can swiftly make changes,” Arrends responded. Arrends continued to claim that bargaining can take months, even years, but once again, this is only because managerial staff normally don’t want to budge on certain issues. And it’s important to note that one to one relationships between worker and boss can lead to abuse, as well as isolating workers from their peers.
It’s unsurprising that Activision Blizzard would continue to take an anti-union stance. And the repeated hammering home of anti-union messaging makes it clear it’s concerned a union could form.
All of this stemmed from Activision Blizzard having a lawsuit filed against them last year from the State of California due to alleged misconduct and gender inequality.
Featured Image Credit: Activision Blizzard