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Activision Retaliated Against Staff, Union Complaint Claims

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(Bloomberg) -- Activision Blizzard Inc. was accused of illegally retaliating against employees for their unionization efforts, according to a labor board complaint filed by the union set to represent workers there.

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The Communications Workers of America alleged in the filing, submitted Friday to the US National Labor Relations Board, that the video game publisher violated federal law by terminating a dozen Wisconsin employees and reorganizing operations at its Raven Software subsidiary in response to their organizing efforts.

An Activision spokesperson disputed the union’s allegations. “We respect and believe in the right of all employees to decide whether or not to support or vote for a union, and retaliation of any kind is not tolerated,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

CWA won a unionization election among the Raven staff last month by a vote of 19 to 3. Microsoft Corp, which is set to acquire Activision in a $69 billion deal, said Thursday that it will work with unions representing employees.

Friday’s complaint is the first by CWA regarding its Raven union campaign. The union previously filed other labor board claims against Activision, and the federal agency said last month that its prosecutors had determined the company broke the law in one of those cases, including by illegally threatening employees. Activision has denied wrongdoing.

“Other Activision workers who want to join our union should not face this kind of harassment,” union organizing committee members said in an emailed statement.

Complaints filed with the labor board are investigated by regional offices and, if found to have merit and not settled, can be prosecuted by the agency’s general counsel and heard by administrative law judges. The rulings can be appealed to NLRB members in Washington, D.C., and from there to federal court. The agency can require remedies such as posting of notices and reversals of policies or punishments, but has no authority to impose punitive damages.

(Updates with comments from company in the third paragraph.)

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