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Activision Blizzard may have illegally threatened union organizers, labor board says

The charge will now go to meditation, else a suit will be filed

Image of green grid and shapes with the words Activision Blizzard superimposed over the top Illustration: James Bareham/Polygon

Hours before Raven Software’s landmark union vote, the National Labor Relations Board announced that it “found merit” to allegations that Activision Blizzard allegedly threatened employees for discussing working conditions, wages, and ongoing investigations under the guise of an “overly broad social media policy,” according to a statement sent by the NLRB to Polygon. What happens next could include a formal ruling over whether or not Activision Blizzard broke established United States labor law.

The announcement is in reference to a different group of workers than the Raven Software QA workers who voted “yes” on forming a union at publisher Activision Blizzard, an NLRB spokesperson said. The original charge was filed in November 2021 by the Communications Workers of America. Allegations include surveillance, interrogation, retaliation, and threats.

The NLRB’s Los Angeles regional office will now look to settle the case. If an agreement isn’t reached, the NLRB will file an official complaint. The complaint then will be brought to a hearing with an NLRB judge.

The National Labor Relations Act protects workers’ rights to organize — employers can’t “respond to a union organizing drive by threatening, interrogating, or spying on pro-union employees, or by promising benefits if they forget about the union,” according to the NLRB.

Activision Blizzard has been under close scrutiny for years now, following a California Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit that alleged the company fostered a culture of sexism and sexual harassment. Multiple lawsuits and investigations have stemmed from there, leading into Microsoft’s intent to purchase the company in a $68.9 billion deal.

Activision Blizzard has not responded to Polygon’s request for comment.

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