“We have to make sure that all of our LGBT people, all of ABK’s people [Activision Blizzard King] with pregnancy ability, all women in the company feel safe and protected and that they have the ability to live in places that aren’t going to actively harm them,” said California-based senior engineer Valentine Powell on “World of Warcraft.”
Some of the protests will take place in Texas, in particular, where Activision has remote offices and workers and where abortion was already heavily restricted. Several dozen workers gathered in Austin, Texas, on Thursday to hold signs that read “Gender Equity Now” and “Sound your horn if you support workers’ rights!”
“This walkout is the right thing to do. ABK should be ashamed of pushing employees out instead of accepting requests and creating a safer workplace,” said Fabby Garza, a Texas-based Activision QA tester who helped organize the walkout. . “To live in Texas as a person of a marginalized sex is to live in fear that at any moment more rights will be taken away from you.”
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“We support the right of our employees to express their opinions and values in a safe and responsible manner, without fear of reprisal. There are many ways to do this publicly or privately,” Rich George, spokesperson for Activision Blizzard told The Washington Post. “Our leadership team remains focused on ensuring we are the best place to work. This includes ensuring gender equity across the company and full access to reproductive health and other services for every employee. .
Organizers said the increasingly inhospitable legal landscape for marginalized people was what prompted them to organize the strike.
“I’m not binary,” said Logan La Coss, a longtime Blizzard customer support employee in Texas who helped organize the walkout. “People like me aren’t exactly in the best position if various protected categories had just had their rights revoked. So we are looking for ways to get people to safety in an effective way. It was the biggest push to put it all together.
Workers in Minnesota are also exiting, with the highest expected turnout compared to other parts of the business across the country. Activision Blizzard employees have quit five times in one year, protesting the lifting of a vaccination mandate, in response to layoffs and demanding the resignation of their CEO.
Protests over the layoffs eventually culminated in a labor campaign at Activision-owned Raven Software; 28 QA testers won their bid for a union in May. On Tuesday, workers at Blizzard Albany — which is participating in today’s walkouts — announced they had filed a union election petition with the National Labor Relations Board.
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The employees first quit exactly a year ago following the company’s response to a sexual harassment and misconduct lawsuit in the state of California.
“The demand for remote work is very close to my heart. As someone with chronic pain and fatigue as well as anxiety, it’s much easier to manage these things in a controlled remote work environment,” said Minnesota-based QA tester Kate Anderson. “We have tried to rally around remote work requests in the past, especially with the walkout of the vaccination mandate [in April]. In Minnesota we have seen several covid breakouts when trying to return to the office in the past.
Activision Blizzard isn’t the only company whose workers are protesting the loss of abortion rights. Several Google and Alphabet employees in Texas and across the country attended protests in June against the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“As the world’s largest search engine, Google has a responsibility to do more to protect the privacy of its users, end its financial support for anti-abortion politicians, and ensure greater access to the abortion for all workers,” said Alphabet member Alejandra Beatty. Workers Union-CWA and technical program manager at Verily, an Alphabet company. “We stand with workers at Google, Alphabet, Activision Blizzard and across industries, fighting for reproductive justice and gender equity.”