It has been almost a month since a former employee filed a National Labor Relations Board complaint against Nintendo for surveillance, coercion and retaliation. Aside from an initial statement denying the company engaged in union-breaking, the home of Mario has been publicly silent about a growing number of allegations of poor working conditions, even though they are recognized internally. Instead, it has been advertising for the past few weeks Splatoon 3† Mario Strikersand his other big summer releases without missing a beat.
The latest report on employee frustration at Nintendo of America comes out axioswho first broke the news of the original NLRB complaint† It was published Thursday, outlining complaints from current and former employees about how Nintendo relies on contractors at every major level of its North American operation, while offering poor conditions and no job stability in return. “I was told that if I go to [my grandpa’s] funeral, I wouldn’t have a job if I came back,” a former co-worker told axios†
This report follows a 22 April investigation by Kotaku in which 10 current and former Nintendo employees described a two-tier system at the company where permatemp testers, localizers, call center reps and others are poorly paid, treated with little respect and rarely made full-time despite being experts in their department. on May 3, IGN followed by a private exposé, describing similar problems and growing dissatisfaction among current workers with the exploitative system. Even former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé weighed in on the allegations, saying she were not representative of the Nintendo he remembered while you work there.
Nintendo has not commented on this in the meantime, at least not outwardly. internal, axios reveals that current Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser addressed the allegations in a message to employees about “stories appearing in some media today about alleged working conditions at Nintendo”.
“Like many of you, the executive leadership team and I find many of these points troubling, and we are reviewing the content closely,” Bowser wrote, according to axios† Nintendo’s CEO added that the company has “zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior, including harassment, discrimination or harassment”. According to KotakuBowser’s own sources, who confirmed the content of the report, posted it on April 22, the same day as our first report.
They say this has been the company’s only meaningful communication on the subject, and attribute the continued radio silence to a sense of Nintendo waiting for the whole thing to blow over. They also found the vagueness disappointing. “It all feels very hopeless,” said one current employee.
In the meantime, Nintendo has continued to promote its big upcoming games. On the same day as Bowser’s internal message, the company revealed: Splatoon 3the release date. Switch sports released a week later. Yesterday, the company held its latest indie showcase. And today Mario Strikers: Battle League got a new trailer.
One thing Nintendo can’t sell away is the NLRB complaint. While Nintendo said the employee in question had been fired for alleged violations of an NDA, four sources familiar with the incident said Kotaku the person had talked about unions several weeks prior to the layoff. And now axios reports that Parker, one of the employment agencies that provides Nintendo with cheap labor, previously told employees in 2014 to stop discussing work organization outside of work.
While unionization is rarely talked about, grumbling about the current circumstances is not, although many workers say they fear retaliation if ever caught complaining. A current employee recently told: Kotaku“Everyone is afraid to talk to management about unions, even though we all express our concerns and dissatisfaction with our treatment among each other.”