Former Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime recently spoke with Washington Post Live.
Interviewed Mike Hume mentioned the Raven Software QA unionization during their chat. Hume also added that the entire game industry had a push for unionization. He asked for Reggie Fils-Aime’s thoughts on the matter.
Reggie’s answer dealt with not just the video game industry but all industries. “From my perspective, companies need to look hard at their practices and make sure they are creating a worker-friendly environment,” he stated. “Unfortunately, so many of these organizations that are in the news are there because there are issues that are coming up. Again, not one or two issues but systematic issues that are running rampant in organizations. So, that’s certainly giving rise to a mentality of more unionization.”
Companies like BioWare, Activision Blizzard, Nintendo, and others are all seeing pushes for unitization, controversies for union-busting, or in some cases, both. Aside from Phil Spencer’s non-answer on the topic, Reggie Fils-Aime is the first (former) gaming executive not just to give a definitive answer on the subject, but one that’s pro-union.
Well, it started that way; Reggie backtracked a bit later on, saying, “I’ve worked in industries that have had high levels of unionization. This is not a good or a bad thing. It is a situation that as a leader, as an executive, you need to manage just like any other challenge, issue, or opportunity that you face.”
Before this comment, he did mention that “in many industries, unionization is a good thing…if this is what your employees want, you need to address that and embrace it and move forward.” While Reggie Fils-Aime isn’t screaming “workers unite” from the top of his lungs, he’s far and away the biggest name in gaming to take this type of stance.
As for those current Nintendo issues, Fils-Aime told the Washington Post that “this isn’t the Nintendo I left.” His former company is facing allegations of violating a worker’s right to unionize, which goes against what Fils-Aime told Mike Hume.
The full answer is available in video form below.