eBay Subsidiary TCGplayer Workers Successfully Vote for Unionization

eBay Subsidiary TCGplayer Workers Successfully Vote for Unionization

As the first subsidiary of eBay to unionize, TCGplayer — a site where collectors can buy and sell any number of collectible cards used in games like Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic: The Gathering, and Pokémon — knew that it was going to face opposition from management. Now, only a week after its successful supermajority vote to unionize with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the union has filed several unfair labour practice charges against eBay itself.

The CWA alleges that eBay held illegal captive audience meetings, issued out retaliatory discipline and threats, and conducted surveillance on union activities within TCGplayer. In addition to filing with the National Labour Relations Board, the union also delivered a letter to eBay’s Board of Directors, demanding the company commit to a labour neutrality agreement. The current TCGplayer mission statement advocates for fair wages, sick and vacation policies, better job descriptions, and a seat at the table to discuss large changes with management. (io9 has reached out to eBay for comment and will update this post if we hear back.)

This is the second union drive workers at TCGplayer have pursued. The first, in 2020, was withdrawn due to the pandemic. During this time, management at TCGplayer hired Littler Mendelson, a labour and employment firm which allegedly trained managers to spread anti-union sentiment among the work staff. Littler Mendelson is well known as hardball law firm that has been involved in anti-union tactics before, notably against the effort to unionize Starbucks, as well as Amazon and Nissan.

The current successful drive includes a unit of 282 workers in non-supervisory roles at TCGplayer’s New York authentication centre, “including Generalists and Specialists across the Sorting, Pulling, Receiving, Shipping, Operations, Research and Development, Inventory, Comics, Quality, and Training departments,” according to the CWA.

“The only way to ensure that all workers’ voices are heard is collective action,” states the union in a recent press release announcing the successful action. “TCG Union/CWA follows in the footsteps of United Paizo Workers, Bellevue Mox Organised Workers and Noble Knight Games United in organising for dignity and respect on the job.”

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