Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court, Activision Blizzard employees across the country are walking out in protest today to demand the company do more when it comes to fighting gender inequity, including covering abortion services and offering relocation packages for employees who may live in states where restrictive abortion bans have been enacted.
The walkout was organized by the ABK Workers Alliance, a group of Activision Blizzard employees who have pushed for change at the company in the wake of a state of California lawsuit alleging a “frat boy” workplace culture Activision Blizzard. Today’s walkout marks one year since California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued Activision Blizzard following a two-year investigation.
Today hundreds of ABK employees across the US are walking out to demand an end to gender inequity. With hostile legislation against reproductive rights and the LGBTQ+ community, we believe it’s important to act now to create a safe workplace for marginalized workers. pic.twitter.com/jWAEFqcVgb
— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) July 21, 2022
The ABK Workers Alliance is calling for Activision Blizzard to grant employees the option of fully remote work (or, for positions where that’s impossible, the ability to relocate to a different state or country), relocation assistance for employees working in states or countries that have passed “discriminatory legislation,” and cost-of-living adjustments for employees that relocate to avoid said legislation.
In addition, the group is calling on Activision Blizzard to ensure that health insurance offered by the company continues to cover reproductive and transgender healthcare and cover travel expenses for employees that must travel to receive such care. The ABK Workers Alliance is also demanding that employees must have access to any sexual harassment report or audit performed by the company, that Activision Blizzard leaders must agree to regularly hold meetings with members of the employee-led Committee Against Sex and Gender Discrimination, and that Activision Blizzard must sign a labor-neutrality agreement much like the one Microsoft recently signed.
Activision Blizzard provided the following statement when reached for comment by GameSpot:
“We support the right of our employees to express their views and values in a safe, responsible way, without fear of retaliation. There are numerous ways they can do so publicly or confidentially,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said. “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 healthcare services for every employee.”
This is far from the first walkout at the company in recent times. Employees walked out last summer to protest the response from company leadership in regards to the state of California lawsuit. Members of the quality assurance department at the Activision Blizzard-owned Raven Software went on strike for over a month late last year in response to layoffs, with members of other studios, like Blizzard, also joining in. Raven Software’s QA employees went on to form Activision Blizzard’s first union, the Game Workers Alliance.
This latest walkout happens just as another group of Activision Blizzard employees seek to unionize. Members of the QA department at Blizzard Albany (formerly known as Vicarious Visions) have asked company leadership to voluntarily recognize the new Game Workers Alliance Albany union, though Activision Blizzard has yet to do so.