Workers unionized at eBay's TCGplayer subsidiary - concept graphic.

eBay Continues Battle With TCGplayer Workers Over Wages, Benefits – Union and Workers Respond


UPS seems to have resolved its union contract issue (subject to final vote by members), but eBay appears to be still battling with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) over the unionization of TCGplayer workers earlier this year.

In 2022, eBay acquired TCGplayer for $295 million to expand its presence in the collectible card game market. However, the company seems to have been unprepared for the successful unionization effort by about 270 TCGplayer workers in March. This was a second effort by workers who had tried before in 2020.

Since the workers’ victory in unionizing, eBay and TCGplayer have been using legal and illegal delay tactics to avoid negotiating a fair union contract, the union claims. The CWA has filed multiple Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against the company, pointing to a pattern of illegal behavior.

Workers at TCGplayer are speaking out against stagnant wages, diminishing benefits, and a lack of acknowledgment for management mistakes under the previous ownership. They are demanding a strong union contract to hold management accountable and secure fair wages and benefits.

“[T]he multiple Unfair Labor Practice Charges we have filed, are crucial because five months ago, TCGunion-CWA won our union election with a majority vote,” said said Briana Thomas, TCGPlayer/eBay worker and TCGunion-CWA member.

Thomas and her colleagues demand a strong union contract, which is the only way they believe they can hold management accountable “to their own supposed values,” and ensure workers at the company will earn fair wages and benefits.

Kethry Warren, another TCGPlayer/eBay worker at the company echoed those sentiments, “eBay and TCGplayer management fail to see us as experts, disregards our feedback, and worsens problems, leaving us to clean up the mess. We have a pool of talented, hardworking, and passionate individuals whose voices go unheard.”

Warren added that workers are “critical to eBay’s success” and the company is not ensuring workers are “free from injury or earn enough to pay for groceries.”

eBay, TCGplayer, What’s The End Game?

With TCGplayer workers officially becoming part of eBay on Monday (July 31, 2023), workers say they are facing as loss of benefits and inconsistent performance metrics. These issues, along with the ongoing struggle for better wages and working conditions, have led workers to demand genuine negotiations with eBay.

The CWA claims that eBay and TCGplayer management’s assertions of respecting workers’ voices are just a cover-up to hinder the bargaining process. Instead of negotiating, the companies have enlisted the services of union-busting firm Littler Mendelson, leading to further interference and coercion against workers.

TCGplayer’s founder and CEO, Chedy Hampson left the company shortly after the successful unionization by its workers, and with the prompt appointment of eBay veteran Robert Bigler, there may have been some hope of finding a quick resolution.

However, it appears nothing has materially changed.

In a statement to The Verge, the head of communications at TCGplayer, Madeline Martinez, rebutted worker claims,“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.”

Given eBay’s public emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, it seems strange that the company appears to be so strongly opposing TCGplayer worker demands, which represent a small group of eBay’s entire workforce globally.

Is eBay concerned about further unionization efforts within the company? Or are they considering moving TCGplayer out of Syracuse and integrating it into its existing verification process infrastructure?

Considering the relatively low price eBay paid for TCGplayer and its long-term growth strategy on focus categories, maybe eBay purchased TCGplayer for its Intellectual Property (processes, procedures, branding, etc.) and isn’t concerned about the operations in Syracuse. It’s starting to look a bit like that.

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