Activision Blizzard’s back-to-office plans have prompted another labor dispute. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) union has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Activision for allegedly illegally firing two quality assurance testers who objected to the hybrid plan. which required them to be in the office three days a week on April 10. Management allegedly fired the couple for using “strong language” in their protest, the CWA said, but Union Secretary- Treasurer Sara Steffens described the move as “retaliation” against staff who joined co-workers in protected labor activity.
Many employees reject the office’s strategy, the CWA claims. They are reportedly worried that ending pure remote work will raise the cost of living and force some employees out of their jobs. The NLRB apparently protected the use of violent language until 2020, when the government lifted standards for firing people for their statements.
In a statement to Engadget, an Activision spokesperson did not respond to the back-to-office effort and maintained that it fired the testers for violating the company’s language policy. The game’s publisher insists that the CWA “encourages this type of behavior.” We asked the NLRB for comment.
There is no guarantee that the payment will be successful. However, this comes after the successes for CWA’s fight against Activision. In May, the NLRB ruled there was merit to claims the company illegally threatened employees and suppressed social media posts. In October, the board learned that Activision was withholding raises from Raven Software testers because of their union efforts. An in-progress charge alleges that the company surveilled protesters and cut off chat channels used to discuss labor issues. Activision has always denied these allegations, arguing that it respects the law and internal policy.
Regardless of the validity of the claims, the pressure has led to changes for some employees. Activision converted all of its contract and part-time testers to full-time status in July, giving them better pay and benefits. Other teams also managed to unite.
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