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Workers at eBay-owned trading card game company TCGPlayer announce union plans

Nearly 300 workers have filed in coordination with CWA and CODE-CWA and requested voluntary recognition.

Magic The Gathering booster packs
Image: Sarah Jarvis

The workers at TCGPlayer’s authentication centre, which handle inventory of Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card games, announced on January 25th their plans to form a union nearly 300 strong with the Communication Workers of America.

Should they secure and win an election, the TCGUnion/CWA would potentially include 282 non-supervisory workers across 10 departments inside the eBay-owned company. The group is the first company owned by eBay to file with the CWA after TCGPlayer’s initial unionisation efforts in 2020 failed to materialise.

TCGPlayer’s authentication centre workers say they are experts within their craft and are passionate about their place in the trading card game industry. TCGUnion/CWA joins a growing number of tabletop companies unionising in the US, including both Card Kingdom and Mox Boarding House, Pathfinder and Starfinder maker Paizo and most recently the staff at retailer Noble Knight Games.

Unions exist to protect workers the way grading cases exist to protect valuable cards, unless the Dicebreaker team have their way.

“We are ready to unlock the full potential we know TCGPlayer can have. By forming a union, we are able to support each other, customers, and sellers to create the best TCGplayer for all of us,” Jennifer Bonham, Shipping Generalist at TCGPlayer said in a press release. “We are incredibly passionate about our work, but passion can only get us so far. We want to see our collective health and well-being thrive because for many of us, this is the best job we have ever had.”

The nascent union reportedly petitioned TCGPlayer before filing with the National Labor Relations Board the same day. Now, its potential members must wait to see if TCGPlayer leadership will voluntarily recognise their plans. If not, the matter will go to a formal vote.

TCGUnion/CWA claims it will fight to secure a cost of living for workers that doesn’t just account for inflation, as well as bring an end to pay caps within the company. It also wants an overhauled sick leave policy and equally applied grievance and discipline procedures that aren’t used for “targeted retaliation… that prevent workers from moving up in the company.” The union wants more general transparency with regards to decisions, as well as a seat at that decision-making table.

Polygon reports that eBay’s purchase of TCGPlayer last year for $295 million motivated many to once again attempt to unionise after withdrawing their petition to form with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) mere days before the vote. TCGPlayer itself purchased Magic: The Gathering content creator and card seller ChannelFireball months earlier.

“It's been immensely fulfilling to talk to my coworkers over the last few months and realize that we do deserve a say in our workplace conditions,” said Paul Neri, Shipping specialist at TCGPlayer. “Forming a union is a way for us to have an equal say in the decisions that affect us and ensure our voices are not ignored. By coming together as TCG Union/CWA, we can cultivate strong protections for our colleagues and make TCGplayer a truly great place to work.”

Dicebreaker has reached out to TCGPlayer, eBay and the TCGUnion/CWA for comment and will update this story accordingly.

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Chase Carter avatar

Chase Carter

Contributor

Chase is a freelance journalist and media critic. He enjoys the company of his two cats and always wants to hear more about that thing you love. Follow him on Twitter for photos of said cats and retweeted opinions from smarter folks.

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