An anonymous worker at Nintendo of America has filed a complaint against the company and one of its staffing agencies with the National Labor Relations Board.
The complaint, first spotted by Axios, was filed on April 15 in Washington state against Nintendo of America, which is based in Redmond, Wash., and the staffing/recruitment firm Aston Carter, which maintains an office in Bellevue, Wash.
The allegations include coercive statements, coercive actions, discharge, and concerted activities. Further details about the complaint are currently unavailable to the public without making a request via the Freedom of Information Act.
Aston Carter is one of several staffing agencies that Nintendo employs to fill office jobs in its Redmond location. While it currently has no available Nintendo-related positions on its site, cached Google results suggest that Aston Carter was specifically involved with hiring for Nintendo’s customer service and call center positions.
GeekWire has reached out to Nintendo for comment.
It’s difficult to say what the details of the complaint might work out to be from the information that’s currently available. Analysts, reading between the lines, have suggested that this may be indicative that the complainant was attempting to organize their fellow workers.
This would be in keeping with recent trends in the overall video game industry. Attempts at game worker unionization have been slowly gaining steam for at least the last four years, as much of modern “AAA” game development runs off of temp jobs, consultancies, hire-and-fire cycles, and underpaid/overworked quality assurance (read: bug testing) workers.
The situation recently rose to a boil in January when the QA department at the Wisconsin-based studio Raven Software (Call of Duty: Warzone) announced that it intended to unionize, in response to both scandals at Raven’s owner Activision Blizzard and a series of promise-breaking layoffs at the end of 2021. Activision Blizzard, for its part, is doing its best to passive-aggressively bust that union, and has yet to officially recognize it.
QA in general is one of the most important, but least respected jobs in the games industry. Raven’s current struggles under Activision Blizzard could very well have lit a few fuses in other companies, including Nintendo.