According to a new report, Blizzard employees are working together to improve working conditions and increase pay across the company.
Almost 900 Blizzard employees on the company's Slack channel are developing a list of claims that they are expected to file for management review this week, Bloomberg said after receiving a draft list. According to Bloomberg, it includes a variety of requests, including increases in customer service and quality assurance blizzard salaries, and more vacation time. The employees are also looking for a revised model for holiday processing.
"We will continue to adjust our compensation to build and retain the workforce that our company needs today and tomorrow," a Blizzard spokesman told Bloomberg in a statement. "We understand that some Blizzard employees have special requests, and we look forward to hearing from you directly."
The move appears to have started last week after employees compiled salary data for both Blizzard and competing companies. Several employees told Bloomberg in a previous report earlier this week that they were underpaid and former employees had made significantly more money after leaving other studios.
The report also showed differences in how Blizzard remunerates employees at different levels within the company. Many employees have earned less than 10% of their annual salary in recent years, including an employee who reported that their salary increased by 50 cents an hour. Management and those with six-figure salaries earned over 20% of their salaries over the same period, according to the Bloomberg report.
The list of complaints that employees prepare for management includes what they call meager pay for the company. It is also alleged that some workers who are forced to work in the high-priced Irvine, California, area where Blizzard is at home earn significantly less than the city's median household income, according to Bloomberg.
It is unclear how long Blizzard will have to respond to employee requests and what can ultimately happen if they are not met. However, the requests come at a time when employees are increasingly speaking out against studios. Ubisoft, for example, has been criticized frequently in recent weeks after employees reported cases of sexual harassment and abuse. The studio has launched an investigation and dismissed several executives in the face of the revelations.
Still, the gaming industry is notorious for treating employees, widespread (and regular) layoffs, and poor pay. Nevertheless, game companies were able to avoid employees joining and working together to bring about change. Blizzard development is perhaps one of the best-known examples of a first step towards union building.
Blizzard, a division of Activision Blizzard, did not immediately respond to a request from Digital Trends for a comment.
Updated August 5 at 2:35 a.m. to include more details.