Nintendo Reaches Settlement In Labor Dispute

Published: October 13, 2022 10:55 AM /


The Nintendo logo against a red background

Nintendo has reached a settlement in a labor complaint brought against it by a QA tester alleging anti-union activity. The settlement necessitates the payment of damages and back pay to tester Mackenzie Clifton and represents the closure of one of the two labor complaints brought against the Japanese gaming giant this year.

We first learned of QA tester Mackenzie Clifton's labor complaint earlier this year, when they alleged Nintendo had unfairly dismissed them after they asked execs a question about unionization. Now, it seems a settlement between Clifton and Nintendo has been reached, bringing an end to this particular complaint for the moment (but, of course, not to the issue at large).

As reported by Axios, the settlement requires Nintendo and contracting company Aston Carter to pay Clifton $26,000 in back pay and damages. In addition, the two firms must post a notice informing workers of their federal rights at its testing department's entrance for two months, and must also email the notice to the team.

You can also see the document that Nintendo and Aston Carter must display and email to colleagues here, courtesy of Axios' Stephen Totilo. It's been redacted, but the gist of it is still pretty clear. The document is intended to reassure employees that they have the right to unionize, to discuss unionizing, and to keep their jobs even if they express concerns or complaints regarding unionization (or any other topic, for that matter).

The labor rights document Nintendo must now display in its testing department and also email to its staff
This document must be emailed to Nintendo staffers. Credit to Stephen Totilo.

Unionization is becoming more and more prevalent in the industry

Clifton's labor complaint is one of two leveled against Nintendo this year. The second complaint contains very similar accusations to the first, and although we don't know who filed this second claim, it names the same firms as the first dispute and carries much of the same wording, so we can assume it's also related to anti-union activity on Nintendo's behalf.

More and more workers are unionizing in the face of alleged poor treatment by companies. Activision Blizzard has been accused of attempting to stifle a union formed by QA testers, and workers from companies like BioWare and Paizo are also unionizing. This isn't a phenomenon that's going to go away anytime soon.

Reports suggest that the vast majority of gaming industry workers support unionization efforts, and unions are often seen as a way for workers to fight back against corporate bosses and execs with too much power. The gaming industry appears to be approaching something of a watershed moment when it comes to unionization, but we'll have to wait and see if that momentum holds.


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