Nintendo QA Tester to Receive $25,000 in Union Busting Settlement

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Nintendo and a former quality assurance tester it fired earlier this year have reached a settlement in the labor dispute that ignited controversy around working conditions at Nintendo of America, Kotaku reported Thursday. The agreement has yet to be approved by the National Labor Relations Board.

Mackenzie Clifton worked quality assurance on several games, including Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, will receive $25,910 plus interest as part of the settlement. Nintendo will also have to post notices in its offices making clear to employees their right to unionize. Aston Carter, the hiring agency Nintendo used to hire Clifton and which helps staff its locations in Redmond, Washington, will pay the settlement figure.

The settlement arrives almost six months after Clifton filed a complaint with the NLRB against Nintendo of America, accusing it of undermining unionization efforts. They had asked Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser about unions during an all-hands meeting, and the company fired them shortly after. It cited a vague tweet about their testing work, and Clifton believed the tweet was merely a pretext to undercut union agitation.

Clifton had sought a personal apology from Bowser as part of the settlement, but Nintendo appears to have rejected the notion.

Clifton's complaint and firing made internal conversations at Nintendo of America around the company's treatment of testers and customer service employees. Those workers are by and large contracted at rates just above local minimum wage. They're also forced to spend two months without work at the end of each annual contract, and rarely make the transition to full-time employment.

Nintendo has yet to acknowledge publicly the many reports of trouble at its North American locations.