Nintendo Employee Files Labor Complaint for Suspensions and Actions

(Nintendo photo)

An anonymous employee at Nintendo of America has filed a complaint against the company and one of its employment agencies with the National Labor Relations Board.

The complaint, first noted by Axios, was filed on April 15 in Washington State against Nintendo of America, which is headquartered in Redmond, Washington, and the staffing and recruiting firm Aston Carter, which has an office in Bellevue. Wash.

The charges include parolees, coercion, discharge and coordinated activities. Further details on the complaint are not currently available to the public without a request through the Freedom of Information Act.

Aston Carter is one of several staffing agencies that Nintendo employs to fill office jobs at the Redmond location. While it doesn’t currently have any Nintendo-related positions on its site, Google cached results suggest Aston Carter was specifically involved in hiring Nintendo’s customer service and call center positions.

GeekWire has reached out to Nintendo for comment.

It is difficult to say what the details of the complaint might be based on the information currently available. Analysts reading between the lines have suggested that this may indicate that the complainant was trying to organize his colleagues.

This would be in line with recent trends in the general video game industry. Attempts to unionize game workers have slowly picked up steam over the past four years, as much of modern “AAA” game development revolves around temporary jobs, consulting firms, hiring and firing cycles, and underpaid/overworked quality assurance (read: bug testing) employees.

The situation recently came to a head in January when the QA division of Wisconsin-based studio Raven Software (Call of Duty: Warzone) announced it was planning to unionize in response to both scandals at Ravens owner Activision Blizzard. and a series of promises-missing layoffs by the end of 2021. Activision Blizzard, for its part, is doing its best to passively-aggressively break that union, and has yet to officially recognize it.

QA is generally one of the most important but least respected jobs in the gaming industry. Raven’s current battle under Activision Blizzard could very well have lit a few fuses in other companies, including Nintendo.

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