Nintendo faces a second labor grievance amid workers’ frustration

Mario wears a suit and prepares to uphold the rights of his workers.

picture: Nintendo

A new labor complaint has been filed with the National Labor Relations Board against Nintendo and contracting agency Aston Carter. The second complaint this year accuses Mario publishers of interfering in “concerted activities” by workers, including possible retaliation and coercion. It comes months later Dozens of current and former employees complained about exploitative working conditions at Nintendo of America.

As first reported through axios, the lawsuit was filed on August 7 against Nintendo and Aston Carter as joint employers. That allegations listed include “coordinated activities (retaliation, dismissal, discipline)” and “coercive rules.” Although vague, both refer to Section 7 and Section 8(a)(1) of the National Industrial Relations Act. The first part guarantees the right of workers to organize or organize themselves in order to achieve “mutual aid and protection”. The second part makes it illegal for companies to “disrupt, restrain or coerce employees” to exercise these rights.

Nintendo and Aston Carter have been accused of labor rights violations back in April also. The public complaint included allegations of coercion, surveillance and retaliation. Four sources familiar with the incident reported kotaku it came straight from a contract worker who asked a question about unions at a meeting and was later fired for what appeared to be a borderline violation of his non-disclosure agreement. Nintendo said in a statement at the time that there had been no “attempts at unionization or related activity” and that the employee had been terminated for disclosure of confidential information “and for no other reason”.

If you’re familiar with the allegations against Nintendo, or have your own story about working there, my inbox is always open: (Signal and proton on request).

However, it sparked a flood of testimonials from former Nintendo of America employees on social media several reports about problematic working conditions in the company. Dozens of current and former employees shared their stories kotaku that Nintendo of America was overwhelmingly staffed with contract employees who received unfair deals and were treated like second-class citizens. In addition to poor pay, months without a job, and poorer health care options, these testers, locators, and customer service representatives were also barred from attending many company events or even walking the hallways of the main building.

Nintendo and Aston Carter have not responded kotaku or other outlets about these issues and did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this latest allegation. When kotakuThe first report of was published in AprilNintendo of America President Doug Bowser issued an internal note to employees saying that the leadership team is investigating the allegations and that the company has a “zero tolerance” policy for discrimination, harassment or intimidation. However, two current employees said little has changed in the months since.

When asked about the complaints, which date back many years, Reggie Fils-Aime said they were didn’t reflect the Nintendo he remembered back in 2019. The former longtime president of the North American branch also said so in an interview with the Washington Post in May that companies should “embrace” unions if their employees want them to.

Both the NLRB complaints against Nintendo and the unprecedented comment from employees of the notoriously secretive video game company come from a growing number of developers in the industry try to organize in a union. And even those who aren’t have, in some cases, formed groups like A Better Ubisoft press the largest publishers to reform their jobs. Nintendo faces a second labor grievance amid workers’ frustration

Curtis Crabtree

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