Gaming

Nintendo Faces A Second Labor Complaint Amid Worker Frustrations

Mario wears a suit and prepares to safeguard his workers' rights.

Image: Nintendo

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

As first reported by Axios, the complaint was filed on August 7 against Nintendo and Aston Carter as joint employers. The allegations listed include “concerted activities (retaliation, discharge, discipline)“ and “coercive rules.” While vague, both pertain to Section 7 and Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act. The first part protects workers’ rights to unionize or self-organize for “mutual aid and protection.” The second part makes it illegal for companies to “interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees” from exercising those rights.

If you’re familiar with the allegations against Nintendo, or have your own story about working there, my inbox is always open: [email protected] (Signal and Proton upon request).

Nintendo and Aston Carter were accused of labor violations back in April as well. The public complaint included allegations of coercion, surveillance, and retaliation. Four sources familiar with the incident told Kotaku it directly stemmed from a contract employee asking a question about unions at a meeting and later being fired over a seemingly borderline violation of their NDA. Nintendo said in a statement at the time that there were no “attempts to unionize or related activity,” and that the employee had been terminated for disclosing confidential information “and for no other reason.”

However, it sparked an outpouring of testimonials on social media by former Nintendo of America employees, and multiple reports about problematic working conditions at the company. Dozens of current and former employees told Kotaku that Nintendo of America was overwhelming staffed with contract employees who were given raw deals and treated like second-class citizens. In addition to pay of little more than $15 an hour in some cases, and worse healthcare options, they were also prohibited from participating in many corporate events or even walking the halls of the main headquarters building.

Nintendo has not responded to Kotaku or other outlets’ reports about these issues, and did not immediately respond to a request for comment about this latest allegation.


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