TCGUnion-CWA organizer Briana Thomas was one of seven young union leaders invited to the White House this week to meet with President Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su to discuss labor issues facing their industries.
A TCGUnion press release detailed eBay/TCGPlayer efforts to stop the successful union vote in March as well as the important discussions at the White House.
Since we won our election in March to join CWA, TCGplayer and eBay management have fought tooth and nail to break our union and stop bargaining. After the regional director of the National Labor Relations board rejected an appeal by TGCplayer to throw out our election, the company appealed again to the full NLRB in Washington, DC.
At the White House yesterday, Briana spoke with the President about how to support workers who are trying to organize as well as those who have voted to unionize and are fighting for a first contract.
“It was important for us to have this conversation because we are part of a much wider labor movement right now where more and more people are recognizing the need to unionize, to have job protections at work, to have livable wages and benefits that protect everybody,” Briana said. “It was great to see that they support our right to unionize.” Watch the full video featuring Briana here.
“At the same time that these workers are standing up to form unions, you’re seeing an unprecedented level of union-busting efforts,” said Sen. Sanders. “That’s why we need to pass, among many other pieces of legislation, the PRO Act.” Watch the full video with President Biden and Senator Sanders here.
We have strong momentum and support on our side from some of the highest offices in the country - it’s even more evidence that management needs to drop their appeal and bargain in good faith!
Today, gaming workers, members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), joined workers across various industries to participate in a roundtable discussion at the White House on worker organizing. Mohammad Saman, a Sega worker with the Allied Employees Guild Improving SEGA-CWA (AEGIS-CWA) and Briana Thomas, an eBay worker with TCG Union-CWA, uplifted the critical importance of securing union contracts for the betterment of workers' rights and protections nationwide...
...“It is clear that the Biden Administration is invested in the struggles facing working people organizing for our fair share across the country. At today’s roundtable discussion, I saw how the individual challenges we face as organized workers are the same no matter what industry you work in. We work tirelessly to exercise our legally protected right to organize and often face intense union-busting campaigns. Despite these efforts, we continue to win our union elections. However, that does not stop companies from avoiding sitting down with workers and honestly engaging in a negotiating process to secure a fair union contract.
At eBay, my coworkers and I overwhelmingly won our union election, but eBay and its subsidiary TCGplayer have refused to play fair. Right now, the scales are tipped unfairly in favor of management. In order to improve working conditions for all workers, we must not only win our union elections, we must secure union contracts, and that is only possible if companies like eBay follow the law and bargain in good faith,” said Briana Thomas, an eBay worker with TCG Union-CWA.
Interestingly, Senator Sanders had also publicly supported a previous unsuccessful union drive at TCGPlayer in 2020, before eBay acquired the company.
Despite winning their union vote on March 10 2023, TCGPlayer workers are still fighting for their first contract as eBay and TCG leadership continue to delay coming to the bargaining table.
TCGPlayer is represented by Littler Mendelson P.C., a law firm that proudly bills themselves as "the largest global employment and labor law practice in the world exclusively devoted to representing management."
eBay has largely attempted to stay on the sidelines of this battle, refusing to engage directly to ensure management lives up to their human rights policy which promises to respect workers’ rights to unionize and to bargain in good faith with any relevant associations or labor unions.
As tensions were rising over the ongoing union issues, TCGPlayer founder and CEO Chedy Hampson stepped down from his position on March 24 and was replaced by eBay's General Manager, Canada, Robert Bigler.
Unfortunately, the change in management does not seem to have improved employee relations at the company.
While refusing to directly engage in good faith with TCGUnion-CWA, eBay has also been attempting to quietly bury questions about due diligence in the TCGPlayer acquisition, disclosure of unionization risks to investors, and what the success of eBay's first union may mean for their other labor-centric authentication operations.
Chief Accounting Officer Brian Doerger's abrupt departure (agreed to on the same day as Hampson announced he was leaving TCGPlayer) raised even more questions about the handling of the acquisition and subsequent labor issues.
And shortly after Doerger's departure, Chief Information Officer Rami Mazid quietly left the company as well.
Though eBay did not give an explanation for either of these high level leadership shakeups, the timing of events suggests a possible connection to apparent due diligence and/or disclosure failures.
Recent job openings in Mergers and Acquisitions strategy, operations and people roles indicate eBay is looking for new blood and fresh perspectives to help with due diligence, employee integration, and planning and execution for future M&A targets as well TCGPlayer.
However, given the continued refusal to accept the union win and come to the bargaining table, one has to wonder if those efforts are sincere or simply a show to try to calm investor concerns about eBay's mishandling of the TCGPlayer situation and broader labor issues.
eBay's recent proxy statement ahead of their annual shareholders meeting made it clear the company is increasingly focused on ESG (environmental, social, and governance) issues, which would presumably include their published human rights policies.
eBay also respects workers’ rights to unionize, and commits to bargain in good faith with any relevant associations or labor unions.
If that statement is to be anything more than disingenuous corporate word salad, eBay and Bigler must honor their commitment, officially recognize TCGUnion-CWA, and begin to bargain in good faith.