Last year, eBay acquired TCGplayer, a leading online marketplace for collectible card game enthusiasts in a bid to shore up its leadership in the collectibles business.
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However, since the acquisition, the company has encountered several unusual hurdles with its purchase.
In January, approximately 270 warehouse employees at TCGplayer attempted to form a union for the second time, following their aborted try in 2020.
In 2020, TCGplayer workers failed to form a union through the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) after the company quickly countered those efforts by hiring notorious union-buster Littler Mendelson to counter this initiative. Workers ended up pulling their petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) due to the pandemic.
But this time around they succeeded On March 10, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) announced they’ll be representing the TCGplayer workers, making it the first U.S.-based eBay division to have a unionized workforce.
In addition, the “CWA filed an unfair labor practice against TCGplayer accusing the company of interfering with, restraining and coercing employees engaging in protected and concerted union activity.”
Furthermore, the union said it was “waiting to hear from the NLRB on several unresolved unfair labor practice charges which include the surveillance of employees who wore insignia identifying them as supporters of the union by TCGplayer managers, as well as illegally forcing employees to attend mandatory anti-union meetings to influence their decision about whether or not to join a union.”
10 days later, Chedy Hampson, who founded and built Syracuse-based TCGplayer into one of the largest online marketplaces for trading card games, announced on Facebook he was leaving the company, effective on Friday, March 24.
“In this next phase of life, I plan to spend time on myself, friends, family, and community while experiencing many of the important things in life that I have forgone while focusing solely on TCGplayer all these years,” Hampson wrote.
“I’ve reached this decision only after careful thought and consideration, and this decision is only made possible because of the amazing team and culture that exists at TCGplayer that is now reinforced by the incredible support from eBay.”
Interpret this announcement as you will, but it is highly intriguing that the founder of the company chose to step down from the business he established in 1999 within days of the successful unionization attempt.
Robert Bigler Takes Lead At TCGplayer
With the CEO position open, eBay didn’t waste much time replacing Hampson. Yesterday, Robert Bigler who started with eBay in 2018 as the COO & Director of Product for Canada & Latin America and then transitioned to the General Manager role at eBay Canada, announced he has taken over the role as CEO at TCGplayer, effective immediately.
“After three incredible years leading the eBay Canada team, I’m excited to announce I’m taking on a new role as CEO of TCGplayer,” said Bigler on LinkedIn.
“Last year, eBay acquired TCGplayer to find even more ways to connect hobbyists and enthusiasts with the products they love most. As a champion of small businesses and local hobby shops, and someone who is deeply passionate about the collectibles space, I’m honored to lead such a talented, entrepreneurial team,” he added.
Bigler will quickly need to fix what appears to be a broken situation between TCGplayer workers and management. After any unionization fight, there will be a time of having to quell distrust between workers and management.
He can enter the company as a fresh face, someone they don’t know. Still, unlike entering into almost any other role at eBay, one of his first jobs at TCGplayer will be dealing with having to negotiate a union contract. And that will be a new challenge.
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