Activision Blizzard chose WilmerHale, a law firm known as a ‘union-butsing firm’. None of their four demands have been met so far.
Last week, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick announced that the law firm WilmerHale has been assigned to conduct an internal review of policies after the explosive harassment lawsuit filed by California’s DFEH. This raised more than a few eyebrows, as WilmerHale is notorious as a “union-busting firm” who seems to fight more for corporate interests rather than for the well-being of employees.
A Letter to Kotick
The ABK Workers Alliance have issued a letter to Kotick and Blizzard leadership, condemning the choice of law firm due to this along with to “unacceptable conflict of interest.” They have also correctly pointed out that despite having four very clear demands in order to create a more meaningful workplace, none of these demands have been met:
The most blatant disregard of these demands is in the fourth, as the ABK Workers Alliance has made perfectly clear that a neutral third-party law firm would be the best solution to provide an impartial investigation into Activision Blizzard’s policies. Instead, WilmerHale’s hiring has been nothing short of a slap in the face and would only serve to support the executives’ best interests. An immediate conflict of interest is visible as WilmerHale had Activision Blizzard as a client as recent as early 2021.
Frances Townsend, a Blizzard executive, has even had multiple professional relationships with various partners of WilmerHale. More alarmingly, WilmerHale has used practices that allow for more “anti-collection tactics,” as shown by representing Amazon and Uber when workers there attempted to unionize.
Finally, the partner chosen to lead this investigation, Stephanie Avakian, has a reputation to protect the “wealthy and powerful:”
Despite this incredibly disingenuous response from leadership, the ABK Workers Alliance has stated that they have created their own initiatives in order to provide the inclusive, safe workspace their employees deserve, by creating multiple avenues of change within the company that caters exclusively to their demands:
Activision Blizzard Employee: We "Demand Better Working Conditions"
Activision Blizzard employees have planned a walkout for Wednesday, July 28th to protest the incendiary response from company leadership to a lawsuit by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
Actions taken by ABK Workers Alliance
Instead of accepting the terms of leadership’s proposal, the ABK Workers Alliance pledges to keep fighting until their demands are met. And after today’s earnings call where leadership members almost robotically stressed their commitment to “diversity and inclusion” for their employees, this only goes to show that more needs to be done. And until then, many current Blizzard employees refuse to see this as nothing more than saving face.