Diablo Devs Say Activision Back To Its Old ‘Union-Busting’ Tricks

Diablo Devs Say Activision Back To Its Old ‘Union-Busting’ Tricks

Lilith from Diablo IV prepares to make her case to the NLRB.

Image: Snow storm

Nearly two months after Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick announced that the company would finally begin negotiating its first union contract with the Game Workers Alliance at Raven SoftwareBlizzard Albany staff, currently working on Devil IVThey say that the publisher has tried to bust unions again. They accuse Activision Blizzard of rehiring law firm Reed Smith to undermine their own organizing effort instead of voluntarily recognize the company’s second union.

“Instead of following Microsoft’s lead and committing to a labor neutrality agreement, Activision has made a clear and conscious decision to deny us our basic labor rights while spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on an anti-union company,” Albany Game Workers Alliance, that he is organizing for things like better wages, health care and work-life balance, among other issues, he wrote in a news release Wednesday. The group says that Activision Blizzard is again enlisting the help of Reed Smith, an organization that offers “union evasion” services, in a “futile effort” to “delay recognition”. As the workers say, Reed Smith intends to urge the National Labor Relations Board to deny the individual QA group the right to unionize.

When asked for a comment, the Obligations editor He did not say why he had rehired the Reed Smith law firm or how much he was paying, but he did confirm that he would once again push for a studio-wide vote on unionization. “Given the significant impact this change could have for approximately 150 people at Albany (formerly Vicarious Visions), we believe all Albany employees who work at Diablo should have a direct say in this decision; should not be performed by less than 15% of employees,” company spokesman Rich George wrote in an emailed statement.


The Albany location-based team is an integrated group that shares a focus on the same game franchise and works on game-related features and functionality. These employees share significant commonalities in their work and it is essential to maintain cohesion throughout the complex process of game development and production.

A screenshot of an old Reed Smith presentation shows tactics to discourage unionization.

Screenshot: Reed-Smith

This is the same playbook the company released last time when Raven Software first sought to unionize. He first integrated QA staff directly into other disciplines within the larger studio and then argued that for this and other reasons the entire studio should vote for a union rather than just those in QA who already overwhelmingly supported it. . Ultimately, the NLRB sided with the workers, but still delayed proceedings for months.

Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard worked with Reed Smith, an international firm that boasted on his website at the time to help companies prevent and fight unionization. He even held a PowerPoint presentation on your website which included slides on how unions were seeking exploit lazy workers and strategies to persuade workers that unions were a bad idea. That presentation has since been removed.

Activision Blizzard’s renewed fight against unionization comes just two months after Microsoft, currently set to acquire it for $69 billion, announced that it would remain “neutral” about union efforts in the future. As part of a campaign to gain regulatory approval for the biggest tech acquisition in history, it seemed like it could also signal a new playbook for Activision. Apparently not. The deal is expected to close before June 2023.

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