The higher-ups at Activision Blizzard (ABK) apparently never run out of decisions that upset their workforce.
The higher-ups at Activision Blizzard (ABK) apparently never run out of decisions that upset their workforce. Unfortunately, their newest reported decision leads right into another workers’ walkout, scheduled for Monday, April 4. The ABK workers are reportedly staging a walkout in protest of the company’s reported decision to drop the COVID-19 vaccine mandate ahead of a return to work in the coming months. Making things more explosive for the company itself, the plans for an alleged relaxed COVID-19 plan were leaked on social media following an email from ABK executives.
According to Polygon, the email was sent by Brain Bulatao, one of Activision Blizzard’s execs, stating that the vaccines were no longer required for employees to return to the office, effective immediately. He cited lifted vaccine requirements across the US, despite suggestions reported by NYT of another wave of COVID being on the way or has already begun in the US. This decision didn’t sit well with the ABK staff. The employees publicly opposed the alleged decision about the dropped vaccine requirements for staff members returning to work.
The ABK Workers Alliance, a group that was formed following the series of alleged scandals that put Activision Blizzard and sexual harassment lawsuits into the same headlines, reportedly doesn’t approve of this decision. The group, which previously staged several walkouts, has announced another protest on Friday, which is scheduled to take place on Monday. The exact number of employees involved in the upcoming walkout wasn’t disclosed by the ABK Workers Alliance representative. What’s more interesting is that ABK reportedly didn’t attempt to run the decision past the Workers Alliance before making it public.
The group is now demanding that Activision Blizzard reverse the decision and reinstate the vaccine requirements or offer remote work as a “permanent solution” to those who feel threatened by the company’s reported decision on the vaccine mandates. Following the walkout’s announcement, Bulatao reportedly sent another email to the company’s employees, stating that despite the company-wide policy, the ABK’s leadership retains the right to determine which processes and policies work best for the company’s employees taking into account local conditions and associated risks.
Following Bulatao’s new announcement, Blizzard’s president, Mike Ybarra, notified the staff through a company-wide email channel that Blizzard would keep its mandatory vaccine requirements for at least a few more months. In the meantime, the official policy of Activision Blizzard, as a whole, dictates that the US vaccine mandate has been lifted, and the majority of ABK’s workforce is still operating under a voluntary return-to-office opportunity.
This means that Activision Blizzard is reportedly actively encouraging its employees who aren’t comfortable returning to the office without vaccine requirements to work with their superiors and the company’s HR team to explore various options for working arrangements that suit them best, e.g., work from home. The official company mail also recognizes that some employees may be participating in a walkout to express their views on the matter, and supports their rights, stating it won’t retaliate against those who participate. However, Activision Blizzard pleads with those who walk out to conduct themselves in a legal, safe, and nonviolent manner.