Last month, the US Supreme Court struck down the nearly 50 year-old Roe v. Wade case, which guaranteed the right to have an abortion across the entire US. After a half-century battle, the repeal (Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women Health Organization) now puts abortion rights in the hands of the states, sparking a wave of protests by those demanding bodily autonomy and their right to choose. And this extends to the workplace, as yesterday a large number of Activision Blizzard employees walked out to demand rights and protections from the company in the wake of the decision.
Workers walked out in California, Texas, Minnesota, and New York under the banner of A Better ABK (organized under the Communication Workers of America). Their demands included relocation assistance for those working in discriminatory states, cost of living adjustments for said relocations, and guaranteed abortion rights’ in healthcare plans. There are also broader labor demands: the right to choose remote work, including employees in sexual harassment audits, and ABK signing a labor neutrality agreement like soon-to-be owners Microsoft.
450 or more employees participated in the walkout, with support from Irvine, CA mayor Farrah Khan and a representative from Congresswoman Katie Porter’s office. Other companies, such as Bethesda and Nvidia, are also facing pressure from employees to act on the issue, but tensions are especially high at ActiBlizz after a yearlong string of exposes, lawsuits, and other developments revealing a highly discriminatory work culture.
After an initial dodgy response when asked about the walkout, Activision Blizzard put out a statement late yesterday:
In early June, the company announced expanded medical travel benefits to include coverage for U.S. employees and their dependents who participate in our medical plans and live in areas where access to medical care, including reproductive health, gender-affirming treatment, transplant care, and any other medical care covered by our plans that is not available in a covered person’s state, or within 100 miles of where they live.
Slightly better, though it still doesn’t address the matter as head-on as it potentially could. Hopefully ABK does as they imply and allow accommodations for employees based on abortion rights. Time will tell. Solidarity with the workers protesting for their rights.
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