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Activision Blizzard hit with unfair labor practice charges for allegedly "disparaging" unions

The CWA has taken issue with a company-wide Slack message allegedly posted by Activision Blizzard exec Lulu Cheng Meservey.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has filed unfair labor practice charges against Activision Blizzard after the company's communications executive, Lulu Cheng Meservey, allegedly sent a company-wide Slack message disparaging unions.

The CWA, which is one of the most prominent communications and media labor union in the United States, claims that Meservey not only took aim at unions, but also threatened to withhold raises and benefit improvements from employees who joined a union.

"[Meservey gave] workers an impression that their union affiliation and/or support was under surveillance," wrote the CWA on Twitter. "Although Meservey called for 'direct dialogue' in her rant, most staff were prevented from directly responding in the Slack channel."

The story first broke last week, when a screenshot of the message allegedly sent by Meservey was shared on social media. It was posted to a read-only Slack channel, preventing workers from responding, and suggested that while Activision Blizzard "fully respects" workers' rights to choose whether or not to unionize, the publisher feels that collective bargaining is a "comparatively slow" way to secure pay, bonus, and benefit increases.

CWA secretary-treasurer Sara Steffens claimed the message shows that Activision Blizzard doesn't genuinely want to create a dialogue between workers and upper management.

"To be clear, a one way channel where management force feeds workers information does not create dialogue between workers and higher ups," said Steffens. "The only vehicle that can give workers a legally-protected seat at the table & a voice on the job is a union."

After Meservey's message had seemingly been outed on social media, the exec began tweeting through the labor dispute, prompting Game Developer senior editor Bryant Franchise to ask the question on everybody's mind: why?

Meservey was only named EVP of corporate affairs and chief communications officer at Activision Blizzard earlier this month, and according to the publisher was brought into create a culture of "creativity and excellence."

The hire was made as the Call of Duty publisher is on the verge of being acquired by Microsoft for $68.7 billion, and is still attempting to deal with a cultural crisis centred around serious allegations of misconduct and a push for workers' rights at subsidiaries like Raven Software and Blizzard Albany, where QA teams are currently attempting to unionise.

Game Developer has reached out to Activision Blizzard for comment on the labor practice charges filed by the CWA.

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