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Nintendo contractors report harsh working environment

Sources alleged Mario maker maintained cyclical contract work for low wages, expected overtime, and lack of benefits

A Nintendo of America contract employee was fired reportedly after mentioning unionization during a meeting. This incident allegedly led to a labor complaint that claims the gaming giant violated the NLRA.

In an expose from Kotaku, following the case filing, 10 current and former employees spoke with the outlet, saying that they felt exploited at the company.

Among the number of concerns the sources shared, they noted that speaking about working conditions would lead to retaliation.

"The general feeling is that you will be punished for being outspoken at every level," a current contractor said.

The report also explains a number of disparities that temporary staff regularly encounter compared to full-timers.

For instance, sources told the site that part-timer pay is $16 per hour with few receiving up to $20. Nintendo of America is headquartered in Redmond, Washington, near Seattle, which was ranked 15th on Kiplinger's top 10 most expensive US cities last year.

Temporary staff also experience what is described as unique cycles of employment. According to sources, staff agencies would provide them 11-month long contracts, with a mandatory two-month break between contracts.

The report also added that despite these disparities, contractors would be expected to be as productive as their full-time colleagues. This would include signing up for overtime.

A source explained to Kotaku that it was difficult to push back against overtime because "our Japanese counterparts would do more so we have to match what they'd do."

Kotaku also published a companion report today about contractors working for an external firm at one of Nintendo's US Joy-Con repair centers.

That report detailed a demanding workplace with high repair quotas that didn't change regardless of the amount of Joy-Cons that needed repairing or the number of workers on hand to perform the repairs.

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Jeffrey Rousseau avatar

Jeffrey Rousseau

Staff Writer

Jeffrey Rousseau joined GamesIndustry.biz in March 2021. Based in Florida, his work focused on the intersectionality of games and media. He enjoys reading, podcasts, staying informed, and learning how people are tackling issues.

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