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Activision Blizzard exec accused by union group of ‘anti-union propaganda’ in Slack

Communications exec Lulu Cheng Meservey is alleged to have issued a company-wide message ‘disparaging the union’

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Image of green grid and shapes with the words Activision Blizzard superimposed over the top Illustration: James Bareham/Polygon
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

After Activision Blizzard chief communications officer Lulu Cheng Meservey published an alleged “company-wide Slack message disparaging [Activision Blizzard workers’] union,” the Communications Workers of America has filed a new unfair labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.

The charge, filed Monday, alleges that Meservey posted “anti-union propaganda” in the #ABK-press Slack room and to an estimated 18,000 workers on Oct. 18. The message was later published to Twitter, where Twitter users accused her of “pushing right-wing talking points,” according to Kotaku. In that message, Meservey commented on the NLRB’s decision to allow Blizzard Albany workers to vote on a union.

In the Slack message, Meservey is said to have claimed that collective bargaining is slow, and that the process would keep workers from receiving bonuses or pay increases, among other things. The complaint says following those comments workers were unable to respond to the message via text, so they communicated their response with emojis; The Washington Post’s Shannon Liao said Meservey was “met with negative emojis,” which Meservey later acknowledged: “I can hear the booing from here! And have registered the disappointed dog emojis.”

CWA, via its unfair labor charge, said Meservey’s “anti-union” message violated workers’ rights. You can read the full filing below.

Asked for comment, Meservey called the unfair labor complaint “bogus.” The full statement, sent to Polygon via email, is as follows:

Unlike the CWA, we believe in open and honest discussion with employees about unionization and ensuring that team members have access to a diverse range of perspectives.

The ABK-press channel on Slack is like a standard company newsroom, used to share updates with employees on a wide range of topics, including in this case independent data from Bloomberg and the U.S. Department of Labor. ABK has the right as an employer, and owes it to our employees, to share where we stand on these issues. Employees have many Slack channels where they have expressed their own points of view as well. All employees were clearly informed they could opt out of the channel at any time.

We will not be intimidated into withholding facts from anyone on our team because of a bogus union complaint.

An Activision Blizzard representative also sent the relevant Slack messages referenced in the charge.

This is Activision Blizzard’s fourth ongoing unfair labor complaint filed with the NLRB since 2021.

Blizzard Albany QA workers, who won the right to vote on a union last week, will have their ballots counted on Nov. 18. Activision Blizzard workers’ public union push began in January after Raven Software QA workers announced their intention to unionize. Those workers won their union in May.

Update (Oct. 26): This story has been updated to include a statement from Activision Blizzard communications executive Lulu Cheng Meservey.