Activision Blizzard Hires Union-Busting Firm As Workers Start To Come Together

In a public statement addressed to employees earlier this week Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said the company was reviewing policies and procedures to help promote a more respectful and inclusive workplace, in response to being sued by the State of California for years of widespread and rampant sexual harassment within the company. To help accomplish that, the company has retained the services of prestigious law firm WilmerHale, which is the same law firm helping Amazon keep its workers from unionizing.

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SinisterKieran58d ago

Wait, this is the opposite of good right?
Blizzard looking more and more slimey

DFresh58d ago

I think Unions should be mandatory in every workplace establishment.
Right-To-Work states are anti worker rights.

Inverno58d ago (Edited 58d ago )

Even if not mandatory I'm pretty sure people have the right to when they choose to. It's the fear of losing your job that stops people from doing it, and it's time work standards change cause we really don't need to suffer through BS

lodossrage58d ago

Yeah, that's the thing. It's exactly like you said. Workers are punished for even trying to unionize on their own.

Amazon did that to a friend of mine when he spoke out about trying to unionize. The only way to start to fix this issue is to get money out of politics. That way, corporations can't lobby against worker rights and protections can be in place for those that wish to create unions.

But almost every major government on the planet is corrupt so....yeah......

Godmars29058d ago

Workers - likely - wouldn't have to if execs weren't so out of touch and/or greedy. Sad truth that such traits are common unions can be just as bad or even worse, with bonus loss of humanity points for many using such, the possibility of, as excuse not to unionize.

Smellsforfree58d ago

If not losing your job, being passed by for promotions and pay raises. Employee reviews become more critical.

roadkillers58d ago

It's dependant, if I opperated a business, I wouldn't want a union. Vice-Versa if I am the employee. It's great knowing that you really cannot be fired with a huge causation.

I've heard stories of a guy clocking in, leaving work, and coming back to clock out. They could not fire him because the union defended the employee. Not sure on the whole picture, definitely more involved, but still depends on the situation.

sourOG58d ago (Edited 58d ago )

Yeah the only people who want unions are the shit workers lol. Teachers unions do a great job defending useless teachers. They might be single handedly ruining this nation’s future generations but it’s not their job to care about kids. Their job is to protect awful teachers. Just like a game industry union would not be concerned about games.

yeahokwhatever58d ago

sourOG gets it. Being union would COST me money. If you're a great employee, you dont need someone to force your employer not to fire you, instead, your employers will FIGHT to keep you.

lodossrage58d ago (Edited 58d ago )

"Great" employees get fired ALL THE TIME. All because a boss wants to "change things up". Employers will NOT fight to keep you if they feel they can REPLACE you or get the same work for cheap. And that's regardless of how good/bad the employee is

Do any of you have any idea how many tenured workers unwittingly trained their replacements? All because they wanted the new person to do the tenured persons' work at a reduced cost?

D3TH_D33LR58d ago

@sourOG & @yeahokwhatever pretty obvious you guys have never worked for a large corporation that love to infringe or push the boundaries of worker rights.

sourOG57d ago

I do work for a large corporation lol. I don’t know what it’s like to work for a large corporation that pushes the boundaries on workers rights because I would quit lol. I don’t take shit from anyone.

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lodossrage58d ago (Edited 58d ago )

Union busting is a huge reason as to why the rich got richer while the middle class shrinks.

And no, unions aren't about protecting crappy workers like sourOG said. Unions are about making sure each and every worker has parity and a voice. And for anyone that thinks unions are just to protect "shit workers", then I question just how many years of his/her life they've been employed. Because god forbid, but if you worked on a job say 18 years, and suddenly you were fired not because of something you did, but because a company wants to go in a "new direction", I bet you'd wish you'd had a union then.

Hell, just look at WWE right now, for the past 3 years now, they've OPENLY bragged about record profit, even during the pandemic. While at the same time firing people for "budget cuts". Do you think that nonsense happens if those WWE employees had a union?.

That's just one example as to why unions are both important and needed.

yeahokwhatever58d ago

i cant imagine being so unmotivated to the point where I'd stay at a company for 18 years. There are options now, people.

lodossrage58d ago (Edited 58d ago )

Being at a job for 5, 10, 18 plus years doesn't always have anything to do with motivation or lack thereof.

If someone actually has a job they enjoy, they may have no problem staying their well into retirement age. This has nothing to do with options.

sourOG58d ago

Yes, they are. It’s just another broken and exploited system. I have never even had the option to be in a union but I wouldn’t even if I did. My father was management of unionized employees. I’ve heard all of the tricks lol. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not against worker protections or saying all states couldn't be improved with an updated set of workers rights and a digital bill of rights. I’m all for it. Putting in your time and getting fired at the last minute is evil shit, I agree with that. It’s a new battlefield for workers but unions are not the answer.

I see people get fired all of the time lol. Most of the time they deserve it. I have lived in right to work states my whole life. I have never had a problem, it’s not the oppressive wasteland you think it is. In my experience my work has always taken care of me. Not because they were forced to but because I work my ass off for them lol. If they didn’t take care of me I would go somewhere that does. They paid a month vacation last March when the COVID shit happened with the PPP. They didn’t have to, they were still open and my state didn’t lockdown like most. Shit went back to normal in August lol. They just gave everyone at my work a raise a few weeks ago because they wanted them to stay. Employers are fighting for workers right now because they have to. Sign on bonuses you name it. The unemployment people liked a year off with no rent lol. That’s the type of people that want unions. You have to sell yourself and Unions prey on the people that can’t or choose not to. I’m not trying to start shit with you I’m just being honest about how I feel about looking at it from the outside.

Unions are professional grifters that get filthy rich off of hard working people they pretend to protect. If you work hard or are even slightly above average that union isn’t doing you any favors. But I agree our system is broken and could be massively improved. Workers protections in law not a back room negotiation from a mafia style operation. Same goal, different methods.

sourOG58d ago

I thinks he’s talking about pensions. Work, retire, collect your pension. They don’t really exist anymore lol. Your retirement follows you like IRAs and 401s. Only federal employees get pensions because their ridiculous salaries are covered by the US blank debt. States are getting into trouble with pensions because they actually have to budget. There are no pluses to anything I’ve seen about unions. Complete shit show.

lodossrage58d ago (Edited 58d ago )

I get what you're saying to an extent sour. But unions are more the solution than the problem. Because right now, the worker has next to no bargain power where the employer has everyone petty in their hands.

You use your father as an example, meaning he was a union baron. If your father was using all sorts of tricks that's not a systematic union issue, that's a human issue.

Now as for your right to work comment, just like your father with him being a union barron, you're depending on the human issue. When you say you personally never had an issue is only coming from YOUR standpoint. Since you're given a story, I'll give one from my own youth that shows the other end of the spectrum. Back when I was in college, I worked at a place called Smartmail LLC. Now me being a college student, it wasn't ideal but you need money. And it was the only job I could find at the time that accomodated my school schedule.

Now, they told us that every six months, we would get a raise based on our work efficiency and we would get basic dental and general health after one year. So after seven months, I brought it up to my boss that I was due a raise. He kept giving excuses as to why raises were "delayed". At the nine month mark, I saw a girl literally bring up the same thing. And they told her she wasn't elligible because she had called out on a day. She literally proved she had a doctor's note AND the manager signed off on that day. They fired her for "being a workplace disturbance" one week later. See, this is the kind of thing that doesn't happen IF a union exists.

SOME union leaders might prey on people sure. But MAJORITY of corporations do that same thing, which is why they go to governments to lobby in the first place.

If anything, I can argue that "right to work" is a grift.

Sure, you have the right to work. And while doing so you have the right to:

Not have benefits
Not have healthcare
Not have vacation pay
Not have overtime pay
Be fired for whatever cause we see fit

Now I'm not saying every employer will be harsh like that. But with the right to work, every and all of those options are on the table. And many companies have used them.

D3TH_D33LR58d ago

@yeahokwhatever Upon further reading of your responses I’ve determined you’re just an idiot. 18 years at a company is unmotivated? Nothing to do with salary/pay, seniority, location, hours, qualifications? Tell me you don’t work at all or are still an ignorant child without actually telling me. Because that’s exactly what you are with those dumbass opinions

MonsterChef58d ago

Some of you all are using the crappiest of crappiest examples against unions. There are several unions that are by far better for their employees than those that I'm seeing against. I have family in the elevators union and each one makes over 6 figures, a possibility that wouldn't be a factor if the union didn't get what they feel their employee are worth.. Many other industries in construction have the ability to unionize but often you see scabs that bring down the wages of certain professions as a way to compete against others. A union standardizes pay for a profession and ensures that even among competing companies that they don't under pay their employees.

sourOG56d ago

I disagree. Workers have all of the power right now. And my perspective is coming from the strictest of states in terms of business favorability. As long we can sue for wrong doing the union is an outdated model. Some private unions do okay because it’s still the workers in charge. Public unions are all trash, workers are pawns.

No man lol, my father was management for metro in DC. The employees were unionized, they had the tricks lol. For example, there were a few guys, a worker and a cop. They were stealing millions from metro and the only reason they got caught was because they were buying lottery tickets with the money they stole. F***ing idiots lmao. My father fired this dude 3 times for other reasons and he came back every time. The unions job isn’t to make a better product or service.

My standpoint from the places with the “least amount of workers rights”, sure. Businesses here don’t last if they treat people like shit. If you are a good worker they will do everything in their power to stop you from leaving. Not because of their charity and golden heart, it’s because production demands it. They don’t make money without you. We get benefits because that’s what keeps people.

How was her productivity? Did she deserve a raise? You aren’t still there, you did what you had to do to pay bills. If you had a union you would still be in that shit job being average because that is what the minimum demands. Would you go above and beyond in a union if the slacker next to you makes the exact same? I wouldn’t. That’s how businesses tank. It’s not a workers right to drive a business into bankruptcy.

No all public union leaders prey on people. Unions don’t lobby? They don’t donate your dues to political candidates? A corporation has never taxed me and donated to a political cause. My government has. That’s all unions are, mini-governments. And they are just as useless and corrupt as a federal government.

“If anything, I can argue that "right to work" is a grift.”

Not really. That’s just a set of laws not an organization.

“Not have benefits
Not have healthcare
Not have vacation pay
Not have overtime pay
Be fired for whatever cause we see fit

You don’t have a right to those anywhere. Benefits are just that, they aren’t rights. Just because they are not required does not mean they don’t exist. I get all of those things even though it’s not required and I didn’t have to pay an extra tax to get them. And I make more than the slackers in my same position because I produce.

“But with the right to work, every and all of those options are on the table...”

Not really. They can’t afford to lose good workers. If you are a shit worker then yeah. They can fire you for anything they want. But it’s not like you lose your pension. We have things like profit sharing. Like for example, My work matches a percentage of the money I put towards retirement. I don’t lose that money if I get fired tomorrow. I lose my benefits and whatnot but that’s just because my health insurance is tied to my work. That’s f***ing stupid, I agree. But the solution isn’t a union keeping my job, the solution is decoupling insurance from the workspace and grouping it with individuals.

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yeahokwhatever58d ago

nobody has a "right" to be paid by someone else. thats INSANE thinking.

lodossrage58d ago

So if I hire you for a job, does that mean I have the right to keep your pay?

spss1158d ago (Edited 58d ago )

Completely disagree.

For my first job in high school (grocery), a union rep fooled me into joining the union. Yes, I was young and dumb. I noticed when money was being deducted from my paycheck, which wasn't much much to begin with. I was pissed. I wanted out but the union just laughed at me. Luckily I knew a good lawyer and threatened legal action. Then they let me go.

The "union" is a mob. I vote right to work everytime. And if you choose to join a union, fine. But no one should be forced to pay dues.

Lord_Sloth58d ago

The union made damn sure a lot of the slackers stayed around, making my jobs harder and wanted a cut of my paycheck for it. "Here, you can carry their workload and pay us for the right to do so." No fucking thank you.

John_McClane58d ago

Actually unions are legalized extortion.

Kurt Russell58d ago

It's an interesting topic raised here. It's eye opening to see the opinions to this POV from US N4G'rs, from both sides of the coin.

Workers where I live are generally far more protected from losing their jobs unfairly. Some companies also have unions you can join. The difference being the companies I have worked at that have unions happily present this as a benefit/perk of their company rather than a negative. Union pay came pre-tax and generally cost buttons at these places too.

As an outsider to the US, there seems to have been a very effective smear campaign to make the general working class see a Union as a negative and vote against it. Worrying that it "comes out my wages" seems a bit moot, surely you negotiate your wage when you accept a job and use this as an opportunity to offset this cost. I know I do, like I do when getting my travel to work subsidised (whether trains into the city, or drive commuting every day).

I do agree Unions are not the US's answer. It's a start, but really your government should be regulating bad business practice more. Sacking off staff to show shareholders greater profit margins should not be at all ok.

MonsterChef57d ago

You can't expect people to put their faith in our governments.. Often people don't even like the people that are representing them in Washington.. Some unions are very beneficial to their workers.

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FlavorLav0158d ago

In consolidation I will officially boycott Diablo4, Overwatch2, and any CoD games going forward. These are the only series from acti-blizzard that I liked, so that’s best I can do for now. That, and so sorry for those harassed on behalf of my entertainment. I’ll correct course best I can when I hear of these types toxic work cultures, unfortunately money talks loudest, so I want my money to go to those that truly stay focused on their craft. Hope more care about the humans making our games and follow suit.

TheDoomedGuy58d ago

I wouldn't worry much about missing diablo4.
Path of exile does a much better job

WackoDaSniper58d ago (Edited 58d ago )

Perfect time to quit since OW2 is dead on arrival with its 5v5 and CoD 2021 is in a disaster state with Sledgehammer. Wasnt planning on getting CoD this year anyway but now I really cant. I'll stick with old CoDs and Overwatch 1 but they wont be seeing any more money from me from games or microtransactions.

TheDoomedGuy57d ago (Edited 57d ago )

So the solution is not to buy the products that those same hardworking employees that have been mistreated have worked hard on?

I understand a strike or refusing to purchase their next product...but I wouldn't say never. Bringing down a company with bad practices only affects the lower level workers. The top earners have already benefited and will be fine. The lower level workers will not be fine and will have to struggle to find another job and make ends meet.

You honestly thing that the higher ups will be severely affected? Maybe a little...or they'll just decide to layoff 200 workers instead.

Not sure what the right answer is...these were just my thoughts.

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