eBay Finally Has Its First Worker Union in 27 Years

Workers at TCGPlayer, the trading card marketplace bought by eBay in 2022, voted to unionize on Friday.
pokemon trading cards by ebay
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Workers at eBay-owned trading card seller TCGPlayer have successfully voted to unionize, making them the first union in eBay’s 27-year history. 

The election was held last week, and the votes were announced on Friday—the union won with a strong majority of 136-87. The workers, who work at the company’s trading card authentication center in Syracuse, NY, have unionized with the CWA, the largest communications and media worker union in the country. Their union will represent all 272 non-supervisory workers in the company’s authentication department, the CWA stated in a press release


“We want to thank everyone so much for their support over these last few days,” the union said on Twitter. “The power we've shown through our collective voice has made some truly monumental ripples and a lot of us are awestruck!” 

This marks TCGPlayer’s first successful unionization effort, but workers had tried to unionize once before. 

“In 2020, workers at TCGPlayer made attempts to form a union with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU),” the press release states. “The company quickly countered those efforts by hiring notorious union-buster Littler Mendelson to spread disinformation and in the last weeks leading up to the election, workers pulled their petition with the National Labor Relations Board due to the pandemic.” 

Littler Mendelson advertises its pro-employer stance on its website. “Our deep experience in representing management serves as a strong counterpoint to the world’s most powerful labor organizations,” the law firm’s website reads. “We guide companies in developing and initiating strategies that lawfully avoid unions or effectively respond to unconventional corporate campaigns.” 

Two years after workers pulled their first union election petition, eBay acquired TCGPlayer last November for $295 million. In January of this year, workers filed a second petition to the National Labor Relations Board, as well as an Unfair Labor Practice charge claiming that management was surveilling pro-union workers. The charge alleged “unlawful surveillance of union activity,” and that the “impression of surveillance [was] designed to interfere with, restrain and coerce employees” with regard to their right to organize.

“Despite the onslaught of attacks and multiple labor violations from the company, workers did not back down and voted in favor of joining the union,” the press release states. 

TCGPlayer is not pleased with the development. “We are disappointed our Authentication Center team members in Syracuse have decided to end their direct relationship with TCGplayer,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to Motherboard. “Our priority continues to be building a positive workplace culture that supports our team members and benefits our TCGplayer community.”

Workers say their next goal is to bargain a contract. 

“We’re excited to finally have a seat at the table, a real voice on the job, and the protections provided by our union to ensure fairness and dignity in the workplace,” said Jennifer Bonham, a worker at TCGPlayer. “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.”