Some Activision Blizzard employees will quit their jobs on Monday after the company dropped its vaccine mandate ahead of a return to work in the coming months. News of the relaxed COVID-19 plan was leaked on social media following an email from Activision Blizzard Director Brian Bulatao.
In the email, Bulatao said vaccines were no longer required for employees to return to the office, effective immediately. Activision Blizzard employees are expected to return to work in the coming months, although this immediately impact on those currently working in the office. Bulatao cited the lifting of vaccine requirements “across the United States” as COVID-19 cases surge in Asia and Europe, according to Vox. Some experts suggest a new wave is coming — or has already begun — in the United States, The New York Times reported.
Following Bulatao’s email, some Activision Blizzard staff began to publicly object to the dropped requirement. The ABK Workers Alliance, a group that formed following Activision Blizzard’s initial sexual harassment lawsuit last year and has handled several walkouts since then, announced the walkout on Friday – it is expected to take place on Monday April 4. A representative of the group did not have an estimate of the number of participants.
The group is calling on Activision Blizzard to reverse the scrapped vaccination requirement, offer remote work as a “permanent solution,” and allow workers to make those work-from-home decisions individually. Supporters and participants can follow the walkout using two hashtags: #SickOfThis and #GameWorkersUnite.
“As part of their return to power, Blizzard and Activision Blizzard held several feedback sessions and polls over the course of three months, at the end of which they decided to make the vaccine mandatory for workers entering the job,” said one. representative of ABK Workers Alliance. Polygon. “That was the agreement under which people agreed to come back. This recent change was not led by any employee before it was announced.
The representative added that the management of the studio was neither informed nor consulted. “This reversal puts people at risk of infection. I and many other employees are angry that our company is pushing for mandatory returns to the office with the lifting of this restriction.
Activision Blizzard did not respond to Polygon’s request for comment.
Activision Blizzard employees have stopped working several times in 2021, the first of which was in July 2021 following the company’s “abhorrent and insulting” response to the California Department of Labor and Labor’s lawsuit. Fair Housing, which revealed serious allegations of sexism and harassment at the World of Warcraft and the Call of Duty publisher. Workers walked away, calling for the resignation of CEO Bobby Kotick, in November following a Wall Street Journal report detailing Kotick’s alleged involvement in downplaying reports of employee misconduct.
In December, Activision Blizzard employees walked away after saying a number of QA employees had been laid off. The walkout led to a strike that ended when workers announced a union effort at the company. These workers, called the Game Workers Alliance, are awaiting a decision from the National Labor Relations Board regarding the potential scope of the union.