Sunday, May 22, 2022

Activision Blizzard Lets Studios Decide Their Own COVID Vaccine Policies

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Activision Blizzard studios will have the power to set their own return-to-office policies, despite company executives’ decision to drop the vaccine mandate. That’s what Activision Blizzard chief executive Brian Bulatao said in a follow-up email after the company received flak after the leak of its first. In that initial message, Bulatao announced that the company is lifting its vaccine mandate before US employees return to the office in the coming months. Not everyone is happy with the change, as you might expect, and a group of workers planned a strike for April 4.

The ABK Workers Alliance, a group formed after the California Fair Employment Agency filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the gaming titan, is on strike to demand the “immediate reversal of the waiver of the vaccination requirement.” It also wants the company to offer remote work as a permanent solution and give each employee the freedom to decide whether to work remotely or in the office. A representative of the ABK Workers Alliance said: polygon that previous meetings with the company all ended with a decision to continue the vaccine mandate for employees returning to the office. “This recent change was not made by any employee before it was announced,” they said.

Bulatao sent his second email after the strike announcement, telling employees that the company’s individual studios “can determine the processes and policies that work best for their employees and locations based on local conditions and risks.” .” Returning to office also remains a voluntary decision at the moment. According to Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier, Blizzard Entertainment president Mike Ybarra told staff in an email that the developer will continue its vaccine requirements “for at least the next few months.” Ybarra also revealed that at least 80 percent of Blizzard staff have already uploaded a vaccination certificate.

In a statement, Activision sent Blizzard to: polygon, it did not say whether its employees’ reaction to the dropping of the vaccine mandate affected Bulatao’s follow-up email. However, it said it will not retaliate against workers participating in the strike:

“The health and safety of our employees is paramount in everything we do, including our return to office policy. Although Activision Blizzard’s US vaccine mandate has been lifted, we still operate under a voluntary return to office policy for the majority of our employees. In addition, 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 circumstances and make adjustments to the policy as needed.

We recognize that some employees may join a strike to express their views. The company supports the right of our employees to express their views 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 who run away will behave in a legal, safe and nonviolent manner.”

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