Disappointed demands from Activision Blizzard employees not being met

Following yesterday’s announcement of the Activision Blizzard Walkout today (and a noticeable dip in the company’s stock price), CEO Bobby Kotick emailed staff in a rather different tone than previous company communications about the California DFEH lawsuit that a discriminatory “frat boy” culture in the publishing industry. However, many employees are still not convinced that the actions allegedly taken do not meet the demands that they believe would bring about real change towards a fairer , safer and fairer working environment.

While Kotick acknowledged that other comments from executives and the company were “tone deaf”, he did not address any of the four key demands made by workers as part of today’s strike; Namely, ending forced arbitration, which allows employees to be part of hiring and promotion policies, company-wide pay transparency, and the ability for employees to select a third party to audit Activision Blizzard’s HR.

Below you can read the full employee statement in response to Kotick’s message:

On the night before our workers’ strike, Activision Blizzard’s leadership released a statement apologizing for their damaging reactions to last week’s DFEH lawsuit. While we’re pleased to see our collective votes — including an open letter with thousands of signatures from current employees — have convinced leadership to change the tone of their communications, this response fails to address critical elements that addressing workers’ concerns.

Activision Blizzard’s response did not address the following:

    • The end of forced arbitration for all employees.
    • Employee participation in overseeing recruitment and promotion policies.
    • The need for greater wage transparency to ensure equality.
    • Selection of third party employees to audit HR and other business processes.

Today’s strike will show that this is not a one-off event that our leaders can ignore. We will not return to silence; we will not be satisfied with the same processes that led us to this point.

This is the beginning of a sustainable movement in favor of better working conditions for all workers, especially women, especially women of color and transgender women, non-binary people and other marginalized groups.

We expect a prompt response and commitment to action from leadership on the points listed above, and look forward to maintaining a constructive dialogue about how we can build a better Activision Blizzard for all employees.

Today we stand up for change. Tomorrow and beyond we are the change.

While Kotick’s statement promised that the company would “continue to investigate any claim and not hesitate to take decisive action,” many employees clearly feel that the company has already let them and others down in this regard. Likewise, promises of “listening sessions” as “safe spaces” do not empower employees or instill a sense of confidence in a corporate structure where management and HR have proven to many to be the root of the problem. An outside law firm comes in to analyze the policies and processes, but the law firm and person leading the charge appear to have been selected by Kotick himself. And while Kotick promised “personnel changes”, we haven’t seen anything concrete yet.

Many see Kotick’s message as a necessary communiqué from Activision Blizzard’s executive team after nearly a week of silence from the various brands (and the stock price begins to fall), but the most affected employees don’t feel it promises or empowers enough. the workforce to change what is an entrenched cultural problem in the company. Executives would like to get past the lawsuit allegations and go back to making games (and then money), but the workers’ statement makes it clear that today’s strike is “the start of a lasting movement,” and that them not. Not willing to accept compromises that continue to sweep big problems under the rug.

“We will not return to silence; we will not be satisfied with the same processes that have led us to this point.”