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Union busting staff message from Activision Blizzard released online

The Cold War continues.

An internal statement from Activision Blizzard on unionisation has been released online, seemingly persuading employees against the practice.

From VP of QA Christian Arends, the message refers to employees' rights to discuss potential unionisation and answers some key questions.

The message was shared online by former employee Jessica Gonzalez, one of the founding members of the ABetterABK employee group. "VP of QA at Activision just posted this shit in company slack LOL," she wrote.

Arends begins by stressing that the company respects employees' rights to unionise.

However, many of the answers he gives to questions relate to the negative impact of unionising for the company.

"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," he said.

"All of this could hurt our ability to continue creating great games. While many union contracts include a 'just cause' provision and a grievance process, this is really just a different way to deal with disciplinary issues."

On comparing bargaining with a union to a direct relationship with the company for individual employees, Arends explains that a direct relationship is quicker, whereas in a union it "often takes months or years to come to a collective bargaining agreement".

"A unionised company cannot act quickly on its own if the union does not agree with its position," he said, noting "In both situations, the company remains free to disagree and maintain a different position."

He also mentioned that employees don't have to vote for a union in an election if signed up, and encouraged employees to "perform [their] own research on the union".

Although Arends is open to questions from employees, the message was posted in a Slack channel that doesn't allow for replies. Instead, employees reacted with an emote saying "fucking unionise" in the Blizzard font.

Gonzalez's tweet was shared by the ABetterABK account, although it hasn't responded directly.

Activision Blizzard employees began a bid to unionise back in December, with Raven Software employees pushing for unionisation despite Activision Blizzard failing to respond within the necessary deadline.

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Ed Nightingale avatar

Ed Nightingale

News reporter

Ed is Reporter at Eurogamer, with an interest in streaming, people and communities, and giving a voice to marginalised people.

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