Activision Blizzard is officially lifting its vaccination mandate for U.S. corporate employees, and workers have announced they are going out in protest. The company confirmed this The edge that it has already ended the mandate, and A Better ABK, an organization of Activision Blizzard employees committed to better working conditions, announced Friday that employees will leave work in protest at 1:00 p.m. ET on April 4.
Jessica Gonzalez, a former Activision Blizzard employee and founder of A Better ABK, originally announced that the company was changing its vaccination policy on Twitter on Thursday evening. In a series of screenshots, she shared the text of an email sent by Brian Bulatao, the company’s chief administrative officer. “Effective immediately, we are lifting our vaccination mandate for all US employees,” Bulatao said in the text shared by Gonzalez. Bulatao also discussed the company’s return-to-office policies, but acknowledged that they differed within the company. Bloomberg Gaming journalist Jason Schreier reported on the email shortly thereafter.
LEAKED: Brian Bulatao emailed all ABK to talk about returning to office in June. They will not enforce proof of vaccination. I’m sure that the ‘benefits’ of face-to-face collaboration are in fact that the organization of employees can be closely tracked and monitored. Don’t die for this company pic.twitter.com/MSOwWVYBR3
— Jessica Gonzalez is Chair (@_TechJess) March 31, 2022
“As part of the return to office, Blizzard and Activision Blizzard conducted several feedback sessions and surveys over the course of three months, at the end of which they decided to mandate the vaccine for workers coming into office,” said an ABK Workers representative Alliance agreed polygon. “This was the agreement under which people agreed to come back. This latest change was not implemented by any staff before it was announced.”
On Friday, Bulatao sent another email to clarify the company’s policies – apparently assuring employees not all of them have to return to work if they feel unwell. “For the majority of our employees, we are still working under a voluntary return to the office,” he said in the email shared with The edge. “While we do not require immunizations company-wide to enter our U.S. facilities, it still falls to executives at Activision Publishing, Blizzard and King to determine the processes and policies that work best for their employees and locations based on local conditions and risks.”
screamer also reported Blizzard CEO Mike Ybarra emailed on Friday saying Blizzard will require vaccination for at least the next few months.
At the same time, Blizzard CEO Mike Ybarra emailed employees that they will continue to require vaccinations for at least the next few months and that about 80% of their employees in Irvine, Austin and Albany have uploaded vaccination records
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) April 1, 2022
Made a better ABK three claims of the company on Friday, which I will quote below and which you can see in the following embedded tweet:
An immediate reversal of the vaccination waiver
Remote work should be offered as a permanent solution
The decision to work remotely or in the office should be made by each individual employee
1. An immediate reversal of the vaccination waiver
2. Remote work should be offered as a permanent solution
3. The decision to work remotely or in the office should be made by each individual employee
— ABetterABK ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) April 1, 2022
Following Activision Blizzard’s clarifications, the group retweeted a Blizzard employee but hasn’t posted an answer of his own yet.
Breaking: Brian Bulatao has conceded to allowing each studio to choose their own vaccination mandate requirements. So far I’ve heard that Blizzard, QAMN, QALA and QATX have reinstated a vaccination mandate. I hope to hear that all my ABK colleagues will be similarly protected.
— Valentine Powell ️ ️⚧️ (@valentine_irl) April 1, 2022
It’s unclear how many workers are expected to leave, and accordingly polygon, “a representative of the group did not have an estimated attendance.” Gonzalez did not respond to a Twitter DM, and the A Better ABK Twitter account did not respond to a tweet asking for clarification. Activision Blizzard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Activision Blizzard employees have previously left in response to the scandals that have plagued the company of late. In July, employees left the company after the state of California sued the company for sexual harassment and more than 350 people attended. accordingly The Washington Post. More than 150 took part in a strike over an explosive device Wall Street Journal report Allegedly, CEO Bobby Kotick was aware of allegations of sexual misconduct at the company, accordingly polygon. And another strike came after the firing of a dozen QA employees working at a studio related to the hugely successful company call of Duty Series, with at least 200 spills, accordingly The Washington Post.
Here’s the full statement from Activision Blizzard The edgeabout speaker Kelvin Liu:
The health and safety of our employees is paramount in everything we do, including our return to the office policy. Although Activision Blizzard’s immunization mandate has been lifted in the US, we are still operating under a voluntary return to office for the majority of our employees. Additionally, employees who do not feel comfortable returning to the office are encouraged to work with their manager and our HR team to explore options for work arrangements that suit their individual situation. We will continue to monitor the conditions and make adjustments to the policy as necessary.
We understand that some employees may participate in a work stoppage to voice their views. The company supports the right of our employees to speak their minds in a safe and non-threatening manner and will not retaliate for any decision to participate in this strike. The company also hopes that those leaving the home will behave legally, safely and non-violently.
And here is the text of Brian Bulatao’s latest email:
By: Brian Bulatao
Subject: Vaccination policy update
Date: April 1, 2022
Yesterday I shared an update that we are lifting our corporate vaccination mandate for all US employees. Based on questions that have arisen since then, I would like to clarify what this means in terms of decision making across our organization as to what is best for a particular business unit or location.
First, since the pandemic began, we have always made employee health and safety our top priority. Our decisions are based on the implementation of standards that meet or exceed local policies in the communities where we live and work. And for the majority of our employees, we still work as part of a voluntary return to the office. We will continue to monitor the conditions and make adjustments to the policy as necessary.
While we do not require immunizations company-wide for entering our U.S. buildings, it is still up to the leaders of Activision Publishing, Blizzard and King to establish the processes and policies that work best for their employees and locations based on local conditions and risks.
Thanks for your feedback. We will continue to refine our plans as we get closer to our full return date.
https://www.theverge.com/2022/4/1/23007115/activision-blizzard-workers-walkout-vaccine-mandate-a-better-abk Activision Blizzard confirms vaccination mandate has expired, staff will leave on April 4th