Blizzard employees are collaborating to improve working conditions and increase pay across the company, according to a new report.
Nearly 900 Blizzard employees in the company’s Slack channel are developing a list of demands they hope to submit for management review as early as this week, Bloomberg reported after obtaining a draft copy of the list. It encompasses a host of requests, including pay increases for Blizzard employees in customer service and quality assurance divisions, as well as more vacation time, according to Bloomberg. The employees are also seeking a revamped model for handling vacations.
“We will continue to adapt our compensation to build and keep the workforce our company needs today and tomorrow,” a Blizzard spokesperson told Bloomberg in a statement. “We understand that some Blizzard employees have specific requests, and we look forward to hearing from them directly.”
The movement appears to have started last week after employees compiled salary data both at Blizzard and competing companies. Several employees told Bloomberg in an earlier report this week that they’re underpaid and former employees earned significantly more after leaving for other studios.
The report also showed a disparity in how Blizzard compensates employees at different levels within the company. Many employees in recent years earned raises below 10% of their annual salary, including one worker who said they saw their pay increase by 50 cents an hour. Management and those with six-figure salaries earned bonuses of more than 20% of their pay during the same period, according to the Bloomberg report.
The list of grievances employees are preparing for management decries what they describe as the company’s meager pay. It also claims some workers, who are forced to work in the high-priced Irvine, California, area that Blizzard calls home, are making significantly less than the city’s median household income, according to Bloomberg.
It’s unclear how long Blizzard will have to respond to the employees’ requests and what may ultimately happen if they’re not met. But the requests come at a time when employees are increasingly speaking out against studios. Ubisoft, for instance, has faced widespread criticism over the past several weeks after employees recounted cases of sexual harassment and abuse. The studio has launched an investigation and fired several executives in light of the revelations.
Still, the gaming industry is notorious for its treatment of employees, widespread (and regular) layoffs, and poor pay. Despite that, game companies have been able to avoid employees unionizing and working together to create change. The Blizzard development may be one of the most prominent examples yet of a first step toward unionization.
Blizzard, a division of Activision Blizzard, did not immediately respond to a Digital Trends request for comment.
Updated at 2:35 a.m. PT on August 5 to include more details.
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