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Call of Duty: Vanguard. Image: Activision Blizzard

A workers group for employees of Activision Blizzard started a strike fund today and has begun distributing union authorization cards to the company’s employees.

Why it matters: The A Better ABK organization is no longer just hinting at trying to form what would become the first major video game developer union in the U.S. They’re doing it.

  • It’s another escalation of worker unrest that has followed allegations this past summer of years of sexual misconduct and workplace abuse at Activision Blizzard.

Details: The union news came via a morning Tweet and the launch of a GoFundMe meant to pay expenses for workers who strike.

  • Organizers soon let on that they’d begun sending union authorization cards.
  • At least 30% of the workforce will have to approve them in order to trigger a vote to unionize, according to National Labor Relations Board rules.
  • Workers have previously publicly asked Activision CEO Bobby Kotick if he would recognize a union but the question has gone unanswered.

As for the fund: Organizer Jessica Gonzalez, who recently left Blizzard, told Axios that it was created to help company workers who have been walking out since Monday to protest the ending of contracts for 20 game testers.

  • Organizers have said those workers had been misled by management about the stability of their roles.
  • Activision has said the move was necessary as part of a process that is converting 500 other temporary workers to full-time roles.
  • The GoFundMe target is $1 million; by midday, it was past $112,000.

In other Activision scandal news: The activist investors who’ve been pressuring Activision on pay and misconduct issues are calling on Coca-Cola to drop Kotick from its board when it comes time to nominate next year’s directors.

  • A rep for Coca-Cola declined to comment on that call from the SOC Investment Group, the New York Times reports.
  • SOC warns that it would call for a vote against multiple members of the board if Kotick doesn’t go.

Go deeper

Amazon workers in Alabama to redo union vote in February

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP

Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, will redo a union vote, with mail ballots expected to go out next month, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The new election comes after last year's vote, in which NLRB determined Amazon had "interfered with the employees’ exercise of a free and reasoned choice."

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker