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Activision Blizzard employees announce formal strike, launch fundraiser to support work stoppage

An "Activision" sign on the facade of one of the company's office buildings in LA.
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The ABK Workers Alliance, an organization of Activision Blizzard employees formed in the wake of a lawsuit alleging widespread sexual harassment and discrimination at the company, has launched a fundraising campaign to support workers taking part in the work stoppage that began on Monday. The Gofundme campaign is seeking $1 million to help cover lost wages, as well as to assist with the relocation expenses of Raven Software workers who were let go last week.

The work stoppage began when members of Raven Software's QA team walked off the job to protest the decision to lay off QA workers at the studio. Employees at other studios joined the action on Tuesday, including the entire central AQ team at Call of Duty studio Treyarch. According to a Washington Post report, Activision Blizzard management told employees taking part in the walkout that they would be paid for Monday through Wednesday but not beyond, so if they wish to continue striking they will have to either use paid time off or go unpaid.

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Previous Activision Blizzard work stoppages in July and November were single-day affairs, but there's no indication as to when this one will end. The Gofundme page indicates that it's open-ended, saying that employees intended to keep up the walkout "until demands are met and worker representation is finally given a place within the company."

The Washington Post report also indicates that Activision Blizzard may be moving closer to unionization, as employees are reportedly being asked to sign union authorization cards which could lead to a company-wide vote on unionization. 

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The ABK Workers Alliance is an independent organization that doesn't officially represent Activision Blizzard employees as a whole, but it represents the frustrations some of those employees have with the state of the company and its management. And it has influence: The group collaborated with the Communication Workers of America, a national union representing roughly 700,000 workers in the public and private sectors, in a September complaint to the National Labor Relations Board, and are also reportedly working with it on this union drive.

Later in the day, the ABK Workers Alliance clarified the "scope and demands" of the ongoing strike action, which are different from the broader demands of Activision Blizzard issued in July. The strikers are demanding that the Raven employees who were laid off last week be reinstated, and that all Raven QA workers, many of whom are contract workers, be made full-time employees.

"While we are still committed to the four demands we made of leadership at the beginning of the A Better ABK movement, and while we are working towards unionization, the focus of this strike is solely our mistreated colleagues at Raven QA," the group tweeted.

"To protect the incomes of Raven workers and all those striking in solidarity with them, we have set up a strike fund. If you are able, we ask that you can contribute to this fund at this link, so that all of our peers can stand in solidarity with us without financial hardship."

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One day after it launched, the ABK strike fund has received nearly 3,400 donations totally more than $226,000. I've reached out to the ABK Workers Alliance for more information and will update if I receive a reply.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.