We are, once again, at the point where some companies start pushing for people who were working from home to go back to the office. In some cases, companies will require workers to be vaccinated before coming into the workplace. Unfortunately, Activision Blizzard, a company that has several lawsuits issued against it, decided now is the time to drop their coronavirus vaccine mandate. Some employees are strongly against that decision.
Kotaku posted the full letter from Activision Blizzard Chief Administrative Officer Brian Bulatao to workers. The key paragraph is:
Everyone, As conditions improve and we prepare to welcome more of you back to our offices, I’d like to share an update regarding our vaccine policy. Effective immediately, we are lifting our vaccine mandate for all U.S. employees. This means that employees no longer need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to return to the office…
The Washington Post reported that in response to the company’s decision to drop their coronavirus vaccine mandate workers staged a virtual walkout in protest. This is Activision Blizzard’s fourth walkout since July of 2021.
According to The Washington Post, ahead of Monday’s walkout, the ABK Workers Alliance – which organized the company’s previous walkouts – posted a statement to Twitter calling for the company to “make working from home an equal and equitable option for all employees” and to reinstate the vaccine mandate at Activision Blizzard-owned studios that have not already done so.
The @ABetterABK Twitter account posted a short thread about the walkout: “Due to new RTO policy around no longer mandating vaccination requirements in regards to the ongoing pandemic, a group of ABK employees will be conducting a walkout on Monday April 4 at 10am PDT. We have 3 demands:”
Their demands were: An immediate reversal to lifting the vaccine requirement. Remote work should be offered as a permanent solution. The decision to work remote or in office should be made by each individual employee.
TechCrunch reported: Employees voiced concern about the plan, which would make returning to work especially unsafe for immunocompromised staff. Blizzard has almost 10,000 employees, though they are spread across a variety of global offices. But eliminating vaccine mandates and other tactics to reduce the spread of COVID-19 struck some workers as short sighted and brazen.
According to TechCrunch, Brian Bulatao walked back his message soon after the announcement of a walkout. He declared that individual studios could choose whether or not to enforce a vaccine mandate, but members of ABK Workers Alliance felt this response was unsatisfactory.