Update: The official Twitter account for the ABK Workers Alliance released a Twitter thread responding to news of the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard acquisition. In the statement, the organization contends that the news is surprising but doesn’t change its goals or stance that embattled CEO Bobby Kotick must be removed from his post.
The group also echoed the concerns expressed by staff that they had not received a response to its request to negotiate, despite the strike already in its second month. The ABK Workers Alliance also stated that it will continue its striking action, despite the company’s acquisition by Microsoft, until its demands are met.
The original story as written is below.
One of the big stories from late 2021 that has continued over into 2022 has been the ongoing strike at Activision Blizzard as a result of their dismissal of 12 QA workers at the Raven Software studio. As the strike entered its fifth week, a new obstacle was set before the workers seeking the reinstatement of the laid-off freelancers along with full-time employment for all freelancers at the studio. Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which has also been at the heart of multiple scandals over the past year, has thrown the future of the collective action into uncertainty.
Shortly after the acquisition was announced, multiple striking workers expressed concerns that their action would lose momentum in the chaos of the reshuffle. One QA employee named Fabby Garza Marroquín was disappointed in Phil Spencer’s apparent change of heart regarding Bobby Kotick. In late 2021, the Xbox boss said that the company was “evaluating” its relationship with Activision Blizzard, only for Microsoft to purchase the company soon after.
Marroquín went on to say: “As a striking worker, I am incredibly disappointed, this does not inspire confidence in me that things will change or that our strike demands will be addressed.”
They weren’t the only ones to express concerns about the merger overshadowing the ongoing action against Activision Blizzard. Another striking worker, who goes by noctflugel on Twitter, said the staff at Activision were “super nervous” and “worried we’re going to be lost in the shuffle and just be told to deal with it.”
In a follow-up tweet, noctflugel said that employees have had “0 communication from any leadership since the strike began,” which lines up with other reports that have come from the striking employees over the past several weeks, who said that no communication had come from Activision Blizzard leadership for several weeks into the strike. Noctflugel says that they’re uncertain if a new team will be brought in to negotiate with the striking workers or if they’ve been labeled as simply “someone else’s problem now.”
No official response has been issued by the employee union at Activision Blizzard and the story is still a developing one, so expect plenty of changes and updates as more groups tackle the news and wrestle with the impact it will have on both the striking employees and the entire gaming industry. It is clear, however, that the merger has caused a great deal of concern among the striking workers at the company and has thrown the entire action into uncertainty.