On Monday, the Communication Workers of America filed yet another unfair labor practice charge against Activision Blizzard, alleging illegal surveillance and suppression of workers’ free speech. The memo alleges that Activision surveilled an employees-only group chat at a protest for gender equality at the company in July, in which workers were discussing their pay and working conditions. According to the charge, the company subsequently threatened to shut down other methods of communication available to the employees, a move which is in line with the company’s recent history of suppressing workers’ rights to organize.
Activision has been mired in a number of disputes this year over its subsidiaries’ right to unionize. After Raven Software’s successful filing with the NLRB in May, the company has outwardly told studios it will engage in good faith on unionization efforts, but has often failed to do so in practice, and has been accused of illegally violating employees’ collective action rights. Prosecutors at the US Labor Board ruled in May that Activision threatened staff and ignored their collective action and organizing rights, an accusation which the company denied.
While this newest claim doesn’t radically change Activision’s position, it does add to the many previous and ongoing investigations of the company’s treatment of workers. This CWA claim is the second this year, following a charge over the then-ongoing sexual harassment investigation at Activision, which the company prohibited employees from discussing. The association also filed a complaint in June alleging that Activision violated federal law by terminating employees at Raven Software this Spring and reorganizing departments mere days after employees requested recognition of the union. Meanwhile, after last month’s union vote at Blizzard Albany, the company is once again , using the upcoming Diablo IV to argue that unionization is not in its employees best interest.