Former Nintendo worker shares more info on labor complaint

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More information on the labor complaint against Nintendo emerges

Earlier this year, a Nintendo worker filed a labor complaint against the company. Now, we’re getting more details on the allegation that Nintendo’s dismissal of the worker was over a labor inquiry.

The labor complaint was filed earlier this year against Nintendo and contracting company Aston Carter. It alleges the companies violated the legally protected right to discuss unionization without fear of retaliation.

In an interview with Axios, the worker is coming forward as Mackenzie Clifton. The tester alleges they were fired in February, over a question about unions during a Q&A portion of a meeting.

In this company meeting for Nintendo testers, during a Q&A with Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser, Clifton says they asked, “What does [Nintendo of America] think about the unionization trend in QA in the games industry as of late?”

This incident was reported on by Kotaku earlier this year. Clifton says the question wasn’t addressed in the meeting. But later that day, they say they were approached by a supervisor from Aston Carter saying it was a “downer question” and advised them to direct those inquiries to the firm, not Nintendo. Less than a month later, Clifton was fired.

Nintendo and labor

Nintendo has denied that Clifton’s dismissal was about unions. Instead, the company says the tester was let go for disclosing confidential information. Clifton tells Axios that when they pressed their supervisors for proof of a violation, they were shown a tweet from February that said:

“in today’s build someone somewhere must have deleted every other texture in the game bc everything is now red. Just like, pure red. it’s very silly.”

Clifton claims this is a misdirection, as the tweet is vague. Nintendo and Astron Carter did not respond to Axios’ requests for comment on Clifton’s account of the situation.

Nintendo has seen a growing number of reports about its temporary worker culture, especially in the wake of this complaint. An internal message at Nintendo from Bowser earlier this year said the company is “closely reviewing the content” of reports surrounding working conditions for its contractors.

This piece has been updated to clarify the worker’s relation to Nintendo.

Eric Van Allen