The National Labor Relations Board is moving toward a ban on captive audience meetings amid the Activision Blizzard Unionization Movement

Jennifer Abruzzo, chief counsel at the National Labor Relations Board, recently proposed banning gatherings of trapped viewers amid the ongoing unionization movement at Activision Blizzard. This includes employers forcing workers to attend anti-union meetings. Activision Blizzard has been criticized by workers for using this tactic in the past.

Abruzzo issued a memorandum Call on the National Labor Relations Board to make meetings with captive audiences illegal under the National Labor Relations Act earlier this week. The document describes workplaces where “employers routinely hold mandatory meetings at which workers are forced to listen to employer speeches about exercising their statutory labor rights, particularly during organizing campaigns.”


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Abruzzo pointed out that “by their very nature, these meetings carry an unlawful threat that employees will be disciplined or face other reprisals if they exercise their protected right not to hear such speech,” before adding, “I believe the precedent of the National Labor Relations Board, which has tolerated such meetings, is contrary to fundamental labor principles, our legal language and our Congressional mandate.”

“Contrary to the core principles of labor law, years ago the National Labor Relations Board erroneously concluded that an employer does not violate the Industrial Relations Act by forcing its workers to attend meetings where it makes speeches in which it encourages them calls for refusing union representation,” Abruzzo notes. “As a result, employers often use threats, explicit or implicit, to coerce workers into meetings dealing with union organizing or other legally protected activities.”

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Abruzzo intends to “ensure workers are not held captive by employer talks about their unionized or sheltered activity”.

This follows an ongoing union movement at Activision Blizzard that has been consistently stifled by the kind of strategies Abruzzo wants to ban. In February, for example, it was revealed that Raven Software employees were being forced to attend a mandatory meeting that contained misleading information about unionization. The recently formed Game Workers Alliance, which represents many Raven Software employees, issued a statement shortly thereafter, calling the presentation “anti-union propaganda.”

“Yesterday, Raven Software hosted a captive public meeting where anti-union propaganda was delivered to workers,” the Game Workers Alliance noted. “We are disappointed to hear anti-union propaganda after months of leadership telling us transparency and communication would improve. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues and are ready to sit down together at the negotiating table to shape our common working conditions positively.”

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