Over the past year and change, talk in the gaming industry has been focused on labor issues. Some developers have begun to talk about forming unions for collective action as the layoffs pile up. Telltale Games. Activision Blizzard. Electronic Arts. Starbreeze. As companies continue to fire developers by the hundreds, these conversations will likely continue.
I didn't expect Super Mario Maker 2 to reference unions though, even obliquely. In the game's Story Mode, Mario and a cadre of Toad laborers are seeking to rebuild Princess Peach's castle after it's destroyed. To this end, Mario undertakes various listed jobs to make the coin needed to rebuild each section of the castle. There's a Toadette called Chief who is overseeing the construction, a Toad called Taskmasker who gives you the jobs, and various colored Toads who are doing the hard work of rebuilding.
About a fourth of the way through the campaign, Toadette notes that her entire crew is slacking off, for which she blames the union. They aren't entirely slacking off, they just lack the materials needed to complete their tasks, which requires Mario's intervention. (Okay, there is one Toad that's outright sleeping.) Subsequent quest text hits out at bosses who "ask someone to do something that they don't want to do themselves." Or another talks about the issues with management. It's honestly a weird tangent to the entire Mario Maker 2 story experience.
Of course, Mario is the one who undertakes all these jobs on the behalf of the Toads, putting him at the bottom of the pecking order. And at the top is Princess Peach, who isn't even around for the entire thing. Is she perhaps off sunning herself on Delfino? The Mushroom Kingdom's one percent. Haarumph!