Nintendo of America has been accused of cracking down on fledgling unionisation efforts by firing employees that were engaging in what (should have been) protected organisation activities. The complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board, implicates both Nintendo and its staffing and recruiting partner Aston Carter of this union busting attitude.
The filing alleges that Nintendo cracked down on employees through:
- Engaging in surveillance or creating the impression of surveillance of employees’ union activities
- Discharging an employee for engaging in protected activities such as discussing wages and other terms and conditions of employment
- Discharging an employee because they joined or supported labor organisation
With this news, some former Nintendo employees have started to speak up about Nintendo’ internal practices on social media. They range from simply stating that there was a huge amount of pressure under threat of being let go, tactics that could have been to enforce longterm contractor status, and even firing a bunch of employees just before hitting a threshold to receive retirement benefits. Not cool, Nintendo.
Nintendo are not the first, and almost certainly won’t be the last company to try and shut down unionisation efforts in the video games industry. Activision Blizzard has been in the spotlight for a whole host of reasons, but one of them has been their attitude toward employees and their efforts to unionise and seek representation within the company. QA employees at Raven Software have formed a union in the wake of Activision’s decision to layoff contracted staff who were in good standing, which led to a longterm strike of some staff at the company.
Since then, Activision has not yet recognised the union that has been formed, has reshuffled the department, and made thinly veiled threats that unionisation would impact their future plans, but has followed through on statements that they would convert QA contractors to full time staff. Those staff unionising at Raven have been omitted from this, in a way that could be justified as not wanting to influence the union, but could easily be seen as punitive against them.