Blizzard May Face Labor Board Action Over Union’s Allegations

Agency finds merit in two complaints by Communications Workers of America

(Bloomberg) — A regional director of the US labor board found merit in union allegations that video-game maker Blizzard Entertainment illegally monitored employees during a walkout and that the company threatened to shut down internal communication channels where employees discussed labor conditions.

National Labor Relations Board officials plan to issue a complaint against Blizzard, a division of gaming giant Activision Blizzard Inc., if the company and the Communications Workers of America are unable to reach a settlement, agency spokeswoman Kayla Blado said Friday in an email. The case would then go to an administrative law judge. A third CWA allegation that the company broke labor law by cutting off access to a chat channel was withdrawn.

Activision Blizzard has been the subject of several lawsuits over allegations that the company fostered a sexist environment and stifled unionization efforts. In 2021, California’s Civil Rights Department filed a lawsuit alleging widespread gender-based discrimination, which spurred labor initiatives in several areas of the company.

Irvine, California-based Blizzard is the maker of the World of Warcraft and Overwatch titles. Its parent company has agreed to be purchased by Microsoft Corp. in a deal valued at $69 billion.

“We take protecting our people from toxic workplace behavior very seriously,” said Activision Blizzard spokesperson Joe Christinat. “We appreciate that the NLRB has withdrawn one of these allegations, and we’re confident the steps we took to protect our people from a toxic workplace were the right ones.” 

The CWA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

–With assistance from Josh Eidelson.

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