TCGPlayer, the popular marketplace responsible for handling shipments for card games, comics, and collectible trading cards, has unionized. This past Friday before the weekend started, a majority of its workers voted in favor of becoming the TCGUnion. Notably, this makes it the first group of employees to successfully unionize at its parent company eBay.
Now represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), TCGPlayer’s 272-person staff first started unionization efforts 2020, but those were quashed by a union buster at the time. When eBay acquired the Syracuse, NY-based company in November 2022, staffers made another union play this past January via election filing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Demands featured in the employees’ mission statement were pay raises (meant to account for recent price inflation), a comprehensive and fair policy for sick leave, and inclusive opportunities to move up within the company.
TCGPlayer worker Jennifer Bonham said the TCGUnion-CWA would allow the company to “take on a more active role in determining the conditions of our work to ensure a better quality of life for ourselves, and a better quality of service for our customers. […] We strongly believe that by joining together to form our union we can make TCGplayer a more equitable workplace where Authentication Center workers can thrive for years to come.”
Following the vote, io9 contacted TCGPlayer for comment. A spokesperson for the company wrote that they were “disappointed our Authentication Center team members in Syracuse have decided to end their direct relationship with TCGPlayer. Our priority continues to be building a positive workplace culture that supports our team members and benefits our TCGPlayer community.”
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As can often be the case when it comes to unions, getting to this point wasn’t easy for TCGPlayer. During the initial voting process in January, the CWA filed an unfair labor practice charge against the company, alleging that management was forcing staff to attend anti-union meetings and surveilling employees that were wearing insignias meant to show union support. Just last week, the CWA filed some more charges, claiming that management was threatening and restraining pro-union workers. At time of writing, the NLRB has yet to issue a decision on these charges.
There were strong pushes for unionization in various industries throughout 2022, such as in video games and comics. Though not all of them panned out or are still in progress, it’s nice to see it continuing into 2023 and hopefully beyond.
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