In the midst of a staff walk, Activision Blizzard changes its vaccine route

Activision Blizzard employees took the day off work Monday in protest changes to the company’s COVID-19 vaccine authorization. Previously, the video game publisher had required employees who work together to get vaccinated. On Thursday, it emailed employees and said that would no longer be the case. A group of workers organized and announced the walkout on Friday, which resulted in slight concessions from management that same day.

Company has since adjusted its announcement by empowering representatives to individual studios, are now free to “determine processes and policies that are best for their employees and locations based on local conditions and risks.” However, the basis for the company in the future will be an optional vaccine.

Blizzard Entertainment, a studio of Activision Blizzard, will uphold its vaccine claim “for at least the next several months,” according to an email sent to Blizzard employees and Reported by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier.

Monday’s rollout highlighted two requirements, revised from the original three it was announced: for Activision Blizzard to make working from home a fair option for all workers. Vaccine action and reversal have been lifted for all studios.

“We had 115 people attend our virtual rollout,” an ABK Workers Union representative told Polygon. “Most people have chosen not to stay on campus due to an increase in COVID transmission in our area. ABK also doesn’t allow people to waste time on this walk, which is a break from their previous behavior.”

In response to the move, Activision Blizzard provided the following statement 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 express their views. 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 conduct themselves in a legal, safe, and nonviolent manner.

Activision Blizzard currently uses a “voluntary return to office” policy, with freelancers working from home or in the office at their own discretion. But that could change in the future, as management highlights “the benefits of face-to-face collaboration,” according to the original leaked email.

Workers at various studios told Polygon they were concerned about the health and safety of their colleagues and families. A Blizzard Entertainment employee told Polygon she believes there is a way back to the office, but it must not put workers at risk.

“Up until that email, the process that management outlined was one of observed safety and caution, allowing everyone in the organization to not only collaborate, but successfully deploy extended to some of the company’s top titles, all while working from home,” she said. “To witness such abrupt policy change without any heightened warning, is merely demonstrating their commitment to drawing on the recommended minimum principles, in an urgent effort. withdraw to return to the office life of a pre-pandemic world.”

Another worker told Polygon they were concerned about how much more expensive it would be for some workers to be in the office all the time – in particular, quality assurance and customer service roles, known for underpaying.

“Parents of younger children will be forced to send their children to daycare, which is expensive and can further increase the risk of infection,” the staff member said. “Gasoline prices are going up and most affordable housing is miles away from offices.”

Some video game studios have embraced working from home as a permanent option for employees – a move that some say. has made the industry more equal. It means workers no longer have to shuffle their lives and move to expensive cities to work for the big games. However, some places are less flexible and like tech companies like Apple, workers are not happy about the change — at least not yet, as COVID-19 continues to spread in communities around the globe.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Hundreds of Americans die every day from COVID-19. While the overall numbers are trending down, experts suggest a new wave has begun in the United States. Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases are spike in Asia and Europe.

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