Reggie Fils-Aimé Says Worker Exploitation "Isn’t The Nintendo I Left"

For the past several weeks, Nintendo America has been the center of growing criticism for the way it treats its workers. While salaried employees are given preferential treatment, contractors at Nintendo of America feel like "second-class citizens," using outdated equipment and software, forced to endure appalling conditions with poor pay, and are under constant fear of reprimand. Worse still, contractors feel they have no path to full-time employment.

It’s gotten so bad that the National Labor Relations Board has accused Nintendo of America of "concerted activities" and "coercive actions" against employees attempting to unionize.

These headlines have naturally made it all the way to former Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aimé, who said in a recent interview that "this isn’t the Nintendo I left."

"While I was at Nintendo, we routinely had meetings at events where our associates–that’s how we referred to our contract employees–were invited," Fils-Aimé told The Washington Post. "Just as a small example, I was famous for doing bi-monthly and quarterly lunches with employees. It was a basic sign-up, and associates were invited to sign up for this as much as full-time employees. We didn't make a distinction."

Fils-Aimé retired from Nintendo in 2019 after 15 years of ensuring a "healthy culture within the company." A few years later, Fils-Aimé doesn’t recognize his old stomping grounds.

"The reports I hear really strike me as just not the company I knew," Fils-Aimé added.

Nintendo has since denied allegations it attempted to coerce employees against unionization, reportedly saying it was "not aware" of organization efforts. This comes during an unprecedented push to unionize within multiple industries, with studios like Raven Software leading the charge for game developers.

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