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Activision Blizzard responds to workers skipping vaccination duties

Some Activision Blizzard workers will be off work on Monday after the company dropped its vaccination duties before returning to work in the coming months. News of the loosened COVID-19 plan leaked on social media following an email from Activision Blizzard CEO Brian Bulatao.

In the email, Bulatao said employees do not need to return to the office to receive the vaccine, effective immediately. Activision Blizzard workers are expected to return to the office in the coming months, although it will right away impact on people currently working in the office. Bulatao cites vaccine requirements that have been lifted “across the US”, as COVID-19 cases are spiked in Asia and Europe, according to Vox. Some experts think 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 employees began publicly protesting the removal request. The ABK Workers Union, a group formed after Activision Blizzard’s initial sexual harassment lawsuit from last year and has managed multiple walkouts since, announced the walkout on Friday – scheduled took place on Monday, April 4. A representative of the group did not have an estimated number of participants.

The group is asking Activision Blizzard to reverse the scrapped vaccine requirement, offer remote work as a “long-term solution” and allow workers to make decisions regarding work from home independently. personal way. Supporters and participants can follow the rollout with two hashtags: #SickOfThis and #GameWorkersUnite.

“As part of their return to the office, Blizzard and Activision Blizzard held a number of feedback sessions and polls over the course of three months, ultimately deciding to make vaccinations mandatory for those workers. about to take up the assignment,” said a representative of ABK Workers Alliance Polygon. “This is the agreement whereby everyone agrees to come back. This recent change was not moderated by any staff prior to being announced.”

The representative added that the studio management was not informed or consulted. “This reversal puts people at risk of infection. I and many other employees are angry that our company is pushing for a mandatory return to office when this restriction is lifted.”

Activision Blizzard employees have been laid off several times in 2021, first happened in July 2021 Following the company’s “disgusting and offensive” response to a lawsuit brought by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the lawsuit brought forth serious allegations of sexism and harassment at World of Warcraft and publisher Call of Duty. The workers went out again, Calling on CEO Bobby Kotick to resignnext November a report by the Wall Street Journal details Kotick’s alleged involvement in reducing reports of employee misconduct.

In December, Activision Blizzard workers go out again after they said some QA staff had been laid off. The walk-out led to a strike that ended when the workers announced efforts to unionize at the company. the workers, called Game Workers Unionpending a decision from the National Labor Relations Board on the potential scope of the union.

Update: Following the announcement of the rollout, Bulatao sent a second email to Activision Blizzard employees in which he wrote that, despite company-wide policy, leadership at Activision Publishing, Blizzard, and King have can “determine the processes and policies that are best for the employee family and location based on local conditions and risk. ”

Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier tweeted that Blizzard president Mike Ybarra emailed employees shortly after, saying that Blizzard would keep its vaccine requirement “for at least the next several months.”

A spokesperson for Activision Blizzard also made the following statement in an email to Polygon:

The health and safety of our employees is an absolute top priority in everything we do, including our return-to-office policy. While Activision Blizzard’s vaccine mandate in the US has been lifted, for the majority of our employees we are still operating on the opportunistic return to the office. In addition, employees who do not feel comfortable returning to the office are encouraged to work with their manager and our human resources team to explore work arrangement options appropriate to their individual situation. their personnel. We will continue to monitor conditions and make adjustments to the policy as needed.

We’ve noticed some employees may be taking the walk to voice their opinion. The company supports the right of employees to express their opinions in a safe and non-threatening way and will not retaliate against any decision to participate in this rollout. The company also hopes that those who step outside will behave in a legal, safe, and nonviolent manner.

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