Activision Blizzard workers walk out following Roe v. Wade decision

Employees demand better protections and remote working options.

Activision Blizzard employees this week staged a walkout in protest of last month’s overturning of Roe v. Wade by the US Supreme Court. Workers across the states of Texas, California, Minnesota, and New York participated, issuing demands for protections in the wake of the ruling, including relocation assistance for those living in “locations passing discriminatory legislation,” according to a report from The Washington Post.

Also included in the list of demands was the option for remote work, as well as protections for the company’s LGBTQ employees. Further, participants are demanding company leadership sign a labor neutrality agreement that would protect workers’ rights to join a union.

“We need to make sure that all of our LGBT people, all of the people at ABK [Activision Blizzard King] with the capacity for pregnancy, all of the women at the company feel safe and protected and that they have the ability to live in places that aren’t going to actively harm them,” World of Warcraft engineer Valentine Powell told The Post.

On Twitter, the ABK Workers Alliance fully outlined its list of demands, such as cost of living adjustments for employees seeking to relocate to “safe states,” and continued insurance coverage for transgender and reproductive healthcare. 

“This walkout is the right thing to do. ABK should be ashamed that they are pushing their employees to walk out instead of accepting the demands and creating a safer workplace,” Fabby Garza, a Texas-based Activision quality assurance tester told The Post. “Living in Texas as a person of a marginalized gender is to live in fear that at any point more rights will be taken away from you.”

Amid the walkout, Activision Blizzard leadership expressed support for its employees’ right to protest.

“We support the right of our employees to express their views and values in a safe, responsible way, without fear of retaliation,” company spokesperson Rich George told The Post. “There are numerous ways they can do so publicly or confidentially. Our leadership team remains focused on ensuring we are the very best place to work. This includes ensuring gender equity throughout the company and comprehensive access to reproductive and other health care services for every employee.” 

However, Activision Blizzard’s track record with worker protections is less than ideal. The company is accused of using union busting tactics throughout the last couple years in the wake of bombshell lawsuits alleging all manner of sexual discrimination and harassment. Over the last year alone, Activision Blizzard employees have staged five walkouts in protest of layoffs, a “frat boy” work culture, the lifting of vaccine mandates, and the refusal of CEO Bobby Kotick to step down amid the ongoing controversies.

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Editor-in-Chief

Sam, the Editor-in-Chief of GameDaily.biz, is a former freelance game reporter. He's been seen at IGN, PCGamesN, PCGamer, Unwinnable, and many more. When not writing about games, he is most likely taking care of his two dogs or pretending to know a lot about artisan coffee. Get in touch with Sam by emailing him at  sdesatoff@rektglobal.com or follow him on Twitter.