Nintendo of America contractors allege low pay and mistreatment

"They want to control you like you’re full-time, but not treat you like a full-time worker"

A new report from contract workers at Nintendo of America has revealed that many feel the company has been abusing their position as part-time workers for years.

Kotaku published a piece earlier today (April 22), where the publication spoke to nine current and former employees at Nintendo of America’s Redmond, Washington headquarters. This comes after the Super Mario game maker was accused of “coercive actions” in a labour complaint, which Nintendo then denied.

Nintendo of America temporary workers told Kotaku that they make around £12.50 an hour ($16 USD), with a few people making £15.50 ($20 USD). One tester, Jelena Džamonja, said that in her five years at Nintendo of America she took on management and leadership responsibilities but was only ever considered a part-time contractor.

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“There are a lot of talented people who find the biggest, shittiest bugs that would make players freak out. They find them, report them, and then don’t get credited,” said Džamonja.

Breath of the Wild.
The sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Credit: Nintendo.

It’s then noted that these part-time workers contribute to the Nintendo brand and so-called “seal of approval” that the company is known for, but don’t receive adequate compensation or credit for their work.

“It hurts your pride because you do contribute to these games and the quality and reasons why players keep coming back,” Džamonja added.

The difference in treatment was highlighted for Džamonja when she fell and hit her head on the way to work one morning in early 2020. When she arrived she realised reading had become increasingly difficult, and suspected she had a concussion.

Upon visiting the on-site clinic, Džamonja was turned away for not being a full-time employee, and thus not in Nintendo’s health insurance plan. Džamonja then asked a colleague that was full-time to drive her to a nearby urgent care facility, but her staffing agency Parker Staffing told her it was against company policy for a colleague to drive her off-site, which led to Džamonja taking an Uber.

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Pokémon Brilliant Diamond
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond. Credit: Nintendo.

“By this time I was full on crying. They want to control you like you’re full-time, but not treat you like a full-time worker,” Džamonja explained to Kotaku over the phone.

A customer service worker at Nintendo of America also said that they worked at the company for a decade with only one year off, but were never promoted to full-time.

In regards to working conditions, multiple employees mentioned that even discussing it felt wrong, as one said: “There’s definitely a fear of talking about these things with the red badges [an internal nickname for full-time staff]. The general feeling is that you will be punished for being outspoken at every level.”

Kotaku’s report goes into more stories from staff and apparent issues at Nintendo of America, which can be found here.

In other news, RimWorld is back up on Australian Steam following a successful appeal of the game’s ban.

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