One day after sharing an open letter decrying the company’s “abhorrent and insulting” response to a harassment lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), Activision Blizzard employees plan to hold a walkout. According to Kotaku, at least 50 employees will protest the company’s recent actions in person and call on it to improve working conditions for women by at least temporarily leaving their posts on Wednesday, July 28th. The Activision Blizzard Walkout will take place in person at Blizzard’s main office in Irvine, California, and online, with the former scheduled to take place between 10AM to 2PM PT.
“We are encouraging employees to take whatever time off they feel safe to do,” a spokesperson for the group told Kotaku. “Most of us plan to take the full day off (without pay), but we understand some people like contractors and associates, and those who are paid less than they deserve, might not have the ability to do so.”
In a statement of intent the group shared with the outlet, they call on Activision Blizzard to end the use of forced arbitration for all current and future employees, adopt new hiring policies designed to increase representation across the company, publish transparency data on compensation and hire a third-party firm to conduct a review of the studio’s HR department and executive staff.
Tech and video game industry employees have increasingly turned to walkouts to advocate for change at their companies. In talking to Axios, the workers who are taking part in tomorrow’s action cited the protest Riot Games employees held in 2019 to end forced arbitration. They said they’re “following along people who have come before us, especially Riot, and what worked for them and what didn’t.”
Walkouts have shown to be effective at pushing companies to change. However, they’re not without risk to those organizing them. In 2019, following a protest staged by some of its employees over its inaction on climate change, Amazon announced its first-ever climate pledge. However, in the aftermath of the announcement, the company fired the two employees who led the action, an action the National Labor Relations Board found was illegal earlier this year.
If you want to support those protesting tomorrow, you can do so by using the #ActiBlizzWalkout hashtag on social media.
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