More than 280 workers at TCGplayer, a marketplace for trading card games like Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon, are trying to unionize. A supermajority of the workers have filed for a union representation election with the National Labor Relations Board. If their efforts are successful, they'll form the first union at eBay, which bought TCGplayer in 2022 in a deal worth up to $295 million.
Employees of several card and tabletop companies have unionized, including Card Kingdom, Bellevue Mox Boarding House, Noble Knight Games and Paizo. The TCGplayer workers are similarly trying to organize with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), which has also worked with several video game studios in their unionization attempts.
“We are ready to unlock the full potential we know TCGplayer can have. By forming a union, we are able to support each other, customers, and sellers to create the best TCGplayer for all of us," Jennifer Bonham, a shipping generalist at TCGplayer, said in a statement. "We are incredibly passionate about our work, but passion can only get us so far. We want to see our collective health and well-being thrive because for many of us, this is the best job we have ever had."
The workers are organizing as TCG Union/CWA and are all employed at the company's authentication center in Syracuse, New York. They each play a hand in ensuring card shipments meet quality standards and that they're accurately completed.
The workers are seeking an end to pay caps; pay rises to account for inflation and cost of living increases; and "a fair and comprehensive sick leave and absence policy that does not punish people" for issues outside of their control. Moreover, they're demanding inclusive career advancement opportunities; fair and transparent hiring practices; clearly defined job roles and expectations; and the resources and training needed to do their jobs. On top of that, they're asking for a seat at the table, along with "just cause and clear grievance and discipline procedures, applied equally to management."
This isn't the first time that the workers have attempted to unionize, as Polygon notes. They tried to do so almost three years ago with the Service Employees International Union. However, just days before the scheduled vote, they withdrew the petition. The eBay acquisition is said to have reignited the unionization drive.
"We have received notice that a petition is being filed by the Communications Workers of America labor union asking the National Labor Relations Board to conduct a vote on union representation," a TCGplayer spokesperson told Engadget in a statement. "We have not seen that petition by the National Labor Relations Board, nor have we had the chance to review it. We respect an employee’s right to choose or to decline union representation, and acknowledge this is a big decision. Our commitment to our employees during this time is to ensure they have the information needed to make an informed and confidential choice."
Engadget has contacted eBay for comment.