Activision Blizzard faces CWA action for firing workers over return to office policy

The CWA has filed an unfair labor charge against the publisher over reportedly firing employees who pushed back on the company's return to office policy.

Activision Blizzard

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) recently filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge against Activision Blizzard over the company’s actions in firing employees who were engaging in union activity. More specifically, Activision Blizzard reportedly fired two employees after they were vocal in pushing back against the company’s return to office policy.

According to the CWA, these employees were engaging in “protected, concerted, union activity” in voicing their concerns which makes their subsequent dismissal unlawful. As shared by outlets like Game Developer, a redacted charge sheet confirms the two employees, who were both QA testers, were dismissed “on or around” February 17.

"Numerous workers protested the RTO plan citing cost of living concerns and the impact it would have on their co-workers who might be forced out of their jobs. Two QA testers expressed their outrage using strong language. In response, management set up disciplinary meetings where both workers were fired," the CWA noted in a press release.

Blizzard headquarters showing the Blizzard sign that reads Blizzard Entertainment
© Reuters

The pushback against Activision Blizzard’s return to office policy reignited when Activision Blizzard confirmed earlier this year that it plans to begin requiring employees to work from the office at least three days a week. The company’s return to office policy will begin being implemented in April for Activision workers, and July for Blizzard staff.

Since the return to office policy was announced, there have been several employees who’ve expressed concerns over COVID-19 exposure risks, the rising cost of expenses for remote hires, and longer commutes, as expressed during a recent Q&A with Blizzard leadership.

The decision to require employees to return to office work has garnered an overwhelmingly negative response according to the CWA, not just from the QA testers who were fired by Activision Blizzard. The CWA also pointed out that this wouldn’t be the first time Activision Blizzard has fired employees in retaliation, as last year the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found credence in union allegations that the company was withholding raises from workers based on their union activity.

Activision Blizzard company logo
© Activision Blizzard

Addressing the situation, a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard told Game Developer that it’s disappointed in the CWA for filing charges.

Now that you’re caught up on Activision Blizzard facing action from the CWA including an ULP charge, be sure to read through some of our previous coverage including the initial announcement of Activision Blizzard implementing a partial return to office for employees, and Activision Blizzard having to pay $35 million after breaking an SEC whistleblower rule.

Senior Editor

Morgan is a writer from the frozen wastelands of Maine who enjoys metal music, kpop, horror, and indie games. They're also a Tetris fanatic who's fiercely competitive in games like Tetris 99... and all games in general. But mostly Tetris. You can follow Morgan on Twitter @Author_MShaver.

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