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TCGPlayer Union slams eBay with Unfair Labour Practice action for allegedly stalling negotiations

The union will join New York Senator John Mannion for a press conference discussing eBay union-busting tactics.

TCGPlayer physical headquarters sign
Image credit: Syracuse.com

TCGunion-CWA members met with New York Senator John Mannion today and held a press conference alleging parent company eBay carried out anti-union delay tactics in order to weaken workers’ position and continue a refusal to meet at the negotiation table.

Employees at trading card retailer and verifier TCGPlayer won their election in March of this year, and the 272 members became the first organised unit in eBay’s history as a company. TCGPlayer was purchased by the massive online auction platform in 2022, spurring workers to unionise before incorporation threatened their jobs, benefits and pay - standards that they allege were not acceptable to begin with.

According to a press release from TCGUnion-CWA, eBay and TCGPlayer management have flatly refused to bargain with the union. Instead, they allegedly are “engaging in various legal and illegal stalling techniques to silence organised workers.” This reportedly include sudden changes to employment clauses and workplace standards and attempting to layoff or reclassify workers involved with unionisation efforts, among other allegedly unlawful activities.

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Members of the union met with President Biden earlier this month to discuss what they see as efforts to sabotage the organised workers’ efforts to improve workplace conditions and “ignor[ing] their basic right to organise.”

TCGunion-CWA members will be filing an Unfair Labour Practice Charge with the US Federal Labor Relations Authority and against eBay for the alleged illegal delay tactics. Additionally, there will be a petition delivery action accompanying the press conference today, July 31st, that will attempt to foment offline action and pressure against eBay for its recalcitrant behaviour.

The press conference will summarise the actions eBay allegedly carried out as well as reiterating the union’s goal to improve working conditions, pay and benefits to workers of TCGPlayer, which has remained one of the most popular grading and trading card reseller for years amongst Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! players. Their ubiquity is no doubt what made them a juicy target for acquisition by eBay - the workers are attempting to hold on to that value and power as much as they can.

This is the second time TCGPlayer has attempted to unionise, as their first organised action in March 2020, with Service Employees International Union (SEIU), collapsed days before the official vote. What exactly happened to erode support remains unclear, but this most recent push has been much more successful - until the union was stonewalled by eBay’s management.

TCGunion-CWA accused eBay of union busting back in march when the workers first voted to organise under the Communication Workers of America, when the company allegedly terminated a worker who was actively coordinating the nascent union. That allegation also went unanswered by their parent company. Dicebreaker reached out to eBay for comment but did not receive a reply prior to publication.

More information on TCGunion-CWA, including their formal statement and official asks, can be found on the union's official website.

Update: A representative from eBay provided Dicebreaker the following statement by email:

"We are not aware of any Unfair Labor Practice charge being filed. TCGplayer’s priority is, and always has been, to build a workplace culture that gives team members a voice and opportunity to actively shape their future – and the future of the business. We are firmly aware of and committed to meeting any and all obligations we may have under the National Labor Relations Act. We will continue to follow the procedures of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

At the onset of this process, TCGplayer asked Region 3 of the NLRB to resolve the issue of whether our Operations Leads were supervisors and thus ineligible for representation by the CWA. The CWA pushed back on our request and Region 3 of the NLRB agreed to wait until after the vote to address the issue. Due to the CWA’s position and Region 3’s action, we now find ourselves with this core issue unresolved. We are equally frustrated by the delay in the process; however, we intend to abide by the legal process put forth by the NLRB."

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Chase Carter

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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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