Bargaining Update #10 – 2/6/2024

Snapshot Summary

  • Takeaways: We were able to reach a single new Tentative Agreement (TA) on Non-Discrimination at this session, and made progress on several others, as well as proposing a Memorandum of Understanding as part of this bargaining package. While we were expecting several counters to our proposals from previous sessions from the company’s bargaining team, we received little in the way of additional contributions from them.
  • Union proposals: Wage Increase MoU, Attendance
  • TCGplayer proposals: Non-Discrimination, Reduced Work Schedules, Seniority

Full Report

On February 6th, 2024, we had our tenth bargaining session on our path to our first contract. Our committee for this session consisted of workers Briana Thomas, Ethan Salerius, and Bob Guy, as well as CWA Staff Representative Mike Garry.

We spent much of the day focused on discussions regarding Seniority. Both sides presented counters with differences in the scope of application for seniority. We believe seniority is an integral part of a strong union contract, ensuring that tenure in employment has a meaningful impact on job security. The company’s proposals have been focused on restricting the application of seniority with placeholder language related to other pending proposals. We can not agree to such restrictive language which will limit how or what we can bargain on other proposals. While we have consistently provided modified language to arrive at a reasonable compromise, management has refused to make any concessions.

We continue to work on outstanding non-economic proposals while we wait for the NLRB’s final decision on unit clarification. Unfortunately, our progress at the bargaining table has been limited by the level of engagement and participation from eBay’s bargaining team. We have over 10 open proposals that we have given them, some many months ago, for which their team has had no response. We specifically asked them about their response to the Recognition article. They declined to provide a counter proposal on this issue. The company has continued to shoehorn language related to relocation into their proposals on the matter (Bargaining Unit Covered) which would sign away our legally protected rights by jeopardizing our Union if the AC moved anywhere outside of the Syracuse city limits.

Our Proposals

  • Wage Increase MoU: Per eBay’s own communications to their employees, the company seeks to increase the wages for its lowest paid hourly employees, a category that our bargaining unit falls into. However, they also clarified that they would not be giving raises to anyone in our Union, citing legal reasons. Rob Bigler has gone as far as to allege in an AMA session that giving us a raise would be illegal. THIS IS FALSE! While making unilateral changes is not permitted, they are absolutely permitted to make changes, give raises, or anything else, as long as such changes are discussed with and agreed upon by both the company and our Union.

    TCGplayer has a history of raising our wages when the minimum wage goes up. In response to the recent hikes in minimum wage in 2023 and 2024, we proposed a Memorandum of Understanding for a wage increase. However, their team has yet to formally respond to our proposed MoU.

  • Attendance: Our counterproposal addressed strict language throughout management’s attendance proposals. Their proposals outline strict expectations for all workers to be at their workstations at the start of their shift and consistently throughout the day without clear definitions of what is understood to be a workstation or explicit allowances for bathroom or water breaks. Our proposed language changes this to an expectation for workers to be prepared and ready to work at the start of shift, while we believe language related to remaining on task should be more reasonable and is out of place in an attendance article. Similarly, we believe there should be more flexibility for departure times, allowing for punching out a few minutes early or late to reflect the reality of our work, and to give workers the option of whether to use PTO for unexpected absences or early departures.

Management’s Proposals

  • Non-Discrimination (TA): We were able to finalize a proposal on this topic, reaching an understanding on the role of labor arbitrators in resolving discrimination claims in the workplace. Such arbitration shall be limited to awarding back pay, and reinstatement. Employees will maintain their ability to file claims with appropriate state and federal authorities to seek additional damages and claims against the employer in the event of discrimination.
  • Reduced Work Schedules: Management’s most recent proposal on this item would allow the company to mandate workers on a reduced schedule to work full 40 hour weeks at the company’s sole discretion, while eliminating the flexibility for someone to opt to work additional hours without sacrificing their arrangement for a reduced schedule. We believe that this is far too unbalanced and that these elements fundamentally undermine the intent of the policy.
  • Seniority: eBay’s counter on this proposal included several small changes around communication between the company and the Union around access to seniority lists. The company also maintains that it would like to have a short window following layoffs (6 months) after which seniority would be lost. FInally, they continue to maintain that they would like seniority to only apply to layoff and recall, whereas we envision this being a concept that impacts many other parts of our contract. We presented a counter to their proposal after lunch to broaden the application of seniority.

Upcoming Dates

  • 2/13: Bargaining Session
  • 2/18: Members’ Meeting
  • 3/5: Bargaining Session
  • 3/24: Members’ Meeting