In a surprising and deeply ironic twist, the workers at Activision Blizzard-owned Proletariat have canceled their union election. A statement from the Communication Workers of America confirmed the news saying that Proletariat CEO Seth Sivak is to blame.
“Like many founders, he took the workers’ concerns as a personal attack and held a series of meetings that demoralized and disempowered the group, making a free and fair election impossible,” read the CWA’s statement.
Proletariat would have been Activision Blizzard’s third union after the success of QA-initiated unions at Raven Studios and, most recently, Blizzard Albany. Proletariat’s union bid was of particular interest as it would have been the first “wall-to-wall” unionization effort including workers from multiple departments.
Activision Blizzard’s pending parent company Microsoft recently voluntarily recognized a union made up of QA workers at ZeniMax Online Studios. Microsoft has adopted a policy of non-interference with its studios’ unionization efforts, a policy workers at the aptly named Proletariat hoped would apply there, especially since the acquisition of Activision Blizzard is in its final but fraught stages.
“Unfortunately, our CEO responded by holding meetings which framed the conversation as a personal betrayal, instead respecting our right to join together to protect ourselves and have a seat at the table, especially after Activision Blizzard acquired Proletariat,” said Dustin Yost, a software engineer at Proletariat and a member of the Proletariat Workers Alliance / CWA organizing committee, in the CWA’s press release. “Those meetings took their toll. While we are withdrawing our union election petition today, and truly hope that management will prioritize the concerns that led us to organize, I still believe that a union is the best way for workers in our industry to ensure our voices are being heard.”
The Verge has reached out to Proletariat and Activision Blizzard for comment.