Former Nintendo of America President and CEO Reggie Fils-Aimé has denied that the issues contract workers are raising about his former employer existed under his watch.
Nintendo of America was the target of a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board last month. The complaint charged Nintendo and its hiring company, Aston Carter, with interfering in unionization efforts, including by terminating an employee who participated in those efforts. Nintendo later said the employee had been fired for disclosing confidential information.
IGN and Kotaku have since published comments from current and former contract workers at Nintendo criticizing the company for the way it delineates full-time and contract staff in terms of pay, benefits and culture. Complainants also said Nintendo lacked a path for contractors to follow to become full-time employees.
"At this point I'm three years removed from being president of Nintendo of America," Fils-Aimé told the Washington Post in a recent interview. "It's been a while. As I read the stories and I read the reports, it struck me — this isn't the Nintendo that I left."
"While I was at Nintendo, we routinely had meetings and events where our Associates — that's how we referred to our contract employees — were invited. 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. The reports I hear really strike me as just not the company I knew. And I'll just leave it at that.
"A core focus while I was at Nintendo of America was having a healthy culture within the company, and I know I was able to achieve that. And certainly what's being described does not seem like a healthy culture."
Fils-Aimé also told IGN contract staff frequently joined Nintendo of America as full-time staff.
"While I was there, we routinely hired [contract employees] in as permanent employees. We did it repeatedly," he said.
"And interestingly, if you look at a number of well-known personalities within Nintendo of America, a lot of them started as contract employees 10, 15 or 20 years ago. So it's always been a positive part of the culture to recruit in the very best of the contract employees into the company."
Despite Fils-Aimé's assertions to the contrary, reporting from Kotaku indicates frustration among contract employees extends well into his tenure at the company. Complaints about poor pay and a lacking path to full-time employee in particular appeared in Kotaku's reporting as problems persisting from Fils-Aimé's time through to now.