U.S. agency alleges Activision engaged in worker surveillance and intimidation during unionization efforts
On March 31, Reuters published a story that has since been corrected to clarify that the U.S. labor agency is alleging that Activision violated federal labor law, but a final ruling has not yet been issued. Additionally, the name of the union has been corrected to the Communications Workers of America in paragraph 3. The article also added information in paragraph 12 that a petition by Boston workers for an election was withdrawn.
Activision Blizzard Inc (NASDAQ:ATVI) has been accused by a U.S. labor agency of violating federal labor law. The agency alleges that the company illegally surveilled employees during a walkout and threatened to shut down internal chat channels while a union was trying to organize its workers.
The National Labor Relations Board plans to issue a complaint against the company unless Activision settles. These allegations come after the Communications Workers of America union (CWA) accused the “Call of Duty” maker of several illegal labor practices as it seeks to organize video game testers and other employees at the company and its subsidiaries.
According to a spokeswoman for the National Labor Relations Board, if Activision Blizzard Inc (NASDAQ:ATVI) does not settle, the agency will file a complaint against the company. The complaint will pertain to employees of the company’s subsidiary, Blizzard Entertainment Inc, based in California and three other states.
The “Call of Duty” maker has been accused of a range of illegal labor practices by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union, as the union has tried to organize workers such as video game testers at the company and its subsidiaries.
Last year, employees of Blizzard Entertainment staged a walkout across the country to protest against the company’s alleged gender inequality.
According to Kayla Blado, a labor board spokeswoman, a regional agency official has now found merit to the Communications Workers of America’s claim that Activision Blizzard illegally surveilled its employees during the walkout.
Blado further stated that the claim that the company broke the law by threatening to shut down internal Slack channels where employees frequently discussed working conditions was also found to have merit.
According to an Activision spokesperson in a statement, the company has defended its ability to prevent “toxic workplace behavior.
” The spokesperson added that the CWA wants the company to accept their false claims but strongly believes that employees shouldn’t be subjected to insults or put downs for their hard work, particularly on company communication platforms.
However, the CWA countered Activision’s statement, claiming that the company’s conduct displayed a clear disregard for workers’ legal rights. Despite Activision Blizzard’s anti-union efforts, the union maintained that workers are organizing and speaking out about their working conditions, and are successfully winning union campaigns.
Activision is currently facing a separate NLRB complaint, which was issued last year, claiming that the company restricted its workers from discussing working conditions by imposing a policy limiting their social media posts.
Activision has maintained that its social media policy is legal and does not interfere with its employees’ rights under U.S. labor law.
In recent months, small groups of workers at Activision subsidiaries in New York and Wisconsin have voted to join the CWA, and Activision is considering its options in these cases. However, Boston-based employees of its unit Proletariat withdrew a petition to have an election in January. Meanwhile, the planned acquisition of Activision by Microsoft for $69 billion, which was announced last year, is still under antitrust scrutiny by regulators in the U.S. and Europe.