The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has withdrawn its request for a union vote on Activision Blizzard’s Proletariat studio after accusing CEO Seth Sivak of “making free and fair elections impossible.” In a statement released yesterday, the CWA accused Sivak of responding to the union campaign with “adversarial tactics” that “demoralized and disempowered the group”, so the vote did not take place at all.
Dustin Yost, a software engineer for Proletariat and a member of the union’s organizing committee, said in a statement that while “the overwhelming majority” of his colleagues in the studio had signed cards in support of unionization, the process “took its toll.” on workers The meetings in which the CWA claims Sivak “framed the conversation as a personal betrayal” apparently made the process too difficult for the employees to continue.
Both Yost and the CWA negatively compared Proletariat to Microsoft Zenimax, asking why it was not possible for the Activision Blizzard-owned studio to “remain neutral, as Microsoft did on Zenimax” and allow “a free and fair process, without intimidation or manipulation by the employer.
I have reached out to Proletariat for their comments on the CWA claims, and will update this article if I receive a response.
Proletariat is Activision’s first victory in a union fight in a long time. The company lost two fights in Raven and Blizzard Albany (opens in a new tab) last year, with workers at both studios lobbying and winning votes to unionize despite Activision’s best efforts. The company likely hopes that the failure of the Proletariat vote to get off the ground will mark the point at which the 2022 unionization wave (opens in a new tab) it will break and recede. I suspect Activision won’t be so lucky.
Concluding his statement, Yost said that while the CWA was “withdrawing [its] union election petition today,” still believes that “a union is the best way for workers in our industry to ensure [their] voices are heard.” The proletariat, after all, has nothing to lose but its chains.