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More Activision Blizzard staff join walkout

QA testers in California, Texas, and Minnesota add to protest of laid off Raven Software contractors

Activision Blizzard QA testers from a number of locations have joined a walkout in protest of the publisher's recent layoffs at Raven Software, according to The Washington Post.

The outlet reports that 60 workers at Wisconsin-based Raven Software held a work stoppage Monday, with additional Activision Blizzard QA testers in Texas, Minnesota, and Blizzard's Irvine campus joining the action today.

The ABK Workers Alliance employee group has also said that all of Treyarch's central QA team has joined the walkout.

They are protesting layoffs made to a number of Raven Software QA contractors since last Friday. In response to yesterday's walkout, Activision Blizzard said it had decided not to renew the contracts of 20 temporary workers, and specifically tied that decision to a plan to convert 500 such contractors to full-time workers "in the coming months."

Activision Blizzard last month said it would increase pay and benefits for contractors after the ABK Workers Alliance called for the publisher to treat its temporary workers better.

The ABK Worker's Alliance has demanded that every member of the Raven Software QA team be offered a full-time contract, including those who were laid off.

An Activision Blizzard representative commented on yesterday's walkouts to the Washington Post, saying, "We support their right to express their opinions and concerns in a safe and respectful manner, without fear of retaliation."

Activision Blizzard's employee relations have been damaged by a series of lawsuits and scandals starting with a lawsuit filed against the publisher by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing in July alleging gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the publisher.

Those concerns were compounded by what CEO Bobby Kotick called a tone deaf response. That was followed up by another lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and an investigation by the SEC, as well as a Wall Street Journal report including allegations about Kotick's own behavior.

The ABK Workers Alliance has called on Kotick to resign. The CEO has said he would consider stepping down, but only if he were unable to fix the company's problems "with speed."

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