It is reported that employees of Proletariat, owned by Activision Blizzard, abandoned plans to form a union after CEO Seth Sivak allegedly used “confrontation tactics.”
Proletariat was acquired by Activision Blizzard last July, and a studio of 100 people was brought in to work on various World Of Warcraft projects, including the Dragonflight expansion.
Last month, Proletariat employees announced their intention to form a union, with the Proletariat Workers Alliance seeking to introduce remote work as a permanent option, better communication in exchange for pay and guarantees that overtime will never be mandatory (via Eurogamer).
“We strive to be a beloved game studio with a diverse team that does its best and creates innovative products at the forefront of game development. We are teaming up to protect this mission and set the studio up for success as we enter the next chapter of Proletariat by joining forces with Activision Blizzard,” the statement reads.
We are excited to announce that the workers of Proletariat have asked management to voluntarily recognize our union, the Proletariat Workers Alliance. 1/14 pic.twitter.com/JtYTCvJT5X
— Proletariat Workers Alliance (CWA) (@WeArePWA_CWA) December 27, 2022
However, now Communications Workers of America (CWA) has reported that these plans have been withdrawn. “Unfortunately, Proletariat CEO Seth Sivak decided to follow Activision Blizzard’s example and reacted to the workers’ desire to form a union with confrontational tactics,” the statement said.
“Like many founders, he took the workers’ concerns as a personal attack and held a series of meetings that demoralized and deprived the group of opportunities, making free and fair elections impossible.”
“As we saw at Microsoft Zenimax Studio, there is another way forward that empowers employees through a free and fair process, without intimidation or manipulation by the employer,” CWA continued. “We will continue to stand together with video game industry workers for better working conditions, higher standards and the voice of the union.”
Big news! Congratulations to @ZeniMaxWorkers! We’re so excited to welcome them officially into the CWA family! https://t.co/55X6468UW1
— CWA (@CWAUnion) January 3, 2023
In December, Quality Assurance (QA) workers at Blizzard’s Albany office officially formed a union after months of opposition from Activision management.
Back in August, Activision Blizzard was accused of taking a “bad path” in an attempt to stop the union, and GWA Albany said Activision Blizzard was trying to make a “clear and conscious decision to deprive us of our basic labor rights.” In November, Activision Blizzard was accused of trying to “drown out the voices of workers” when it made a last-minute attempt to confiscate ballots cast during a unionization vote in Albany.
In October, Communications Workers of America filed charges of unfair labor practices against Activision Blizzard, accusing public relations director Lulu Cheng Meservi of “threatening to refuse to raise and improve the work of workers who joined a union” in a corporate-wide Slack message.
That same month, the National Labor Relations Board found that Activision Blizzard had illegally retaliated against unionizing workers by withholding their allowances.
In other news, Justin Roiland became CEO of Squanch Games after reports that he had previously been charged with domestic violence.