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Blizzard Boston Studio Proletariat Ceases Unionization Efforts, Blames CEO

World of Warcraft support studio Proletariat backs down from its request to unionize, blaming the CEO for cracking down on attempts at collective action.


Proletariat, a study incorporated by Snow storm support world of warcraft has ceased its attempts to unionize with the Communications Workers of America. It was reported earlier this month that internal leadership had chosen to align with Blizzard’s response to the effort, and a recent statement blames Proletariat’s CEO for breaking the once-positive attitude toward unionization.


Raven Software and Blizzard Albany have unionized under the CWA in recent months, inspiring a push for collective action in an industry that has been so antagonistic to such moves. The workers of the proletariat announced their petition late last year, following the growing trend, and would become the third group to organize at Activision Blizzard. Prospects worsened shortly after Proletariat leaders published a blog post stating that they would not voluntarily recognize the union and would seek an election under the supervision of the National Labor Relations Board. The leaders went so far as to describe themselves as “pro-worker”, citing the name of their studio as evidence of this claim, but the workers disagreed, accusing management’s actions of having “come straight out of the book of anti-union moves used by Activision”. and many others.”

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It appears that any anti-union tactics employed were effective, as the CWA has “withdrawn its request for a representation election at Activision Blizzard’s Proletariat studio.” The statement goes on to blame Proletariat CEO Seth Sivak, citing that he “chose to follow Activision Blizzard’s lead and responded to workers’ desire to form a union with adversarial tactics.” Sivak viewed the concerns raised by the workers as a “personal attack”, and subsequently set up a “series of meetings that demoralized and disempowered the group”, ending any chance of a fair election.

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The withdrawal of the petition means there will be no vote on unionization in Proletariat for the foreseeable future. The study’s Workers Alliance had sought to improve conditions related to paid time off, remote work, health care benefits, and the promise that “transparency and diversity are top priorities.” Dustin Yost, a software engineer at the studio, said most workers supported the union at first, but positive sentiment waned as it was “framed…as a personal betrayal” of management.

Activision Blizzard’s hostility toward unionization attempts is in stark contrast to Microsoft’s rhetoric and actions thus far. After vowing to remain neutral, ZeniMax Media’s quality assurance employees voted to unionize earlier this month, making it not only the first union for the tech giant, but also the largest in the games industry. With Microsoft about to acquire Activision Blizzard, studios may be more willing to engage in unionization efforts without fear of intimidation and retaliation.

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Source: Polygon, GameSpot

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