Bargaining Update #11 – 2/13/2024

Snapshot Summary

  • Takeaways: After a highly productive caucus session at the end of last week, our Bargaining Team was prepared with a dozen proposals, as well as a Memorandum of Understanding on COVID-19 policy.
  • Union proposals: Bulletin Boards, Seniority, Layoff & Recall, Successorship, Orientation, Attendance, Job Bidding & Transfers, Bargaining Unit Work, Contracting Work, Union Representation, Joint Labor Management Committee, Resignation/Termination, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) - COVID-19
  • TCGplayer proposals: Recognition, Management Rights, Seniority, Layoff & Recall, Visitation, Corrective Action, Overtime, Bulletin Boards

Full Report

On February 13th, 2024, we had our eleventh bargaining session as we progressed yet further towards our first contract. Our committee for this session consisted of workers Briana Thomas, Ethan Salerius, and Bob Guy, as well as CWA Staff Representatives Debora Hayes and Mike Garry.

Despite repeated refusals from eBay’s bargaining team when asked for time off of work to give our team the time they need to prepare for our sessions, we were able to take time last weekend to prepare an extensive package of new and updated proposals. We were excited to take this opportunity to take long strides towards our ultimate goal of a contract.

Unfortunately, from the outset of the session members of the company’s bargaining team were distracted, on their phone, and seemed aggravated. We spent the morning reviewing the proposals we prepared with little in the way of meaningful response or discussion from the company. Following lunch, the company presented several existing proposals without substantive change reflecting related recent discussions. When we called out this lack of effort, the company’s bargaining team grew increasingly disgruntled, tossed the remainder of their proposals across the table and walked out, abruptly ending the session.

Our Proposals

  • Bulletin Boards: Our previous proposals on this subject attempted to reach a compromise with the company about the number of boards and locations of them. While we had considered two boards, one by each time clock, we came to the conclusion this was a poor place for people to congregate and consume information. As such, we returned to our original suggestion of three boards, one in each break room, as all of us have access to and eat lunch in all three rooms. Additionally, we included language that would provide for our ability to otherwise distribute literature, maintain a dedicated Slack channel, and crosspost relevant information in ac-community and ac-announcements.
  • Seniority: Our latest proposal on seniority maintains that this will be a concept that is relevant in several other portions of our contract, as opposed to their previous attempts to restrict Seniority to layoff and recall. We also simplified the language they had around those medically unable to perform work after an approved medical leave.
  • Layoff & Recall: We are close to a TA on this proposal, so we made a requested change in language that clarifies that employees returning from layoff will be offered other positions within the bargaining unit if their original position is unavailable.
  • Successorship: We had proposed on this previously, paired with language on Union involvement in the new hire orientation process. We took that language out of our proposal on Successorship and made it into its own proposal.
  • Orientation: This proposal, once a part of our Successorship article, specifies that Union representatives will be given the time and opportunity to meet and inform new hires of the Union, our contract, and the rights and responsibilities that come with these, as well as the opportunity to give new hires a written copy of our contract.
  • Attendance: We clarified with the company what is defined as a workstation as referenced in their previous proposal, as well as reaching an understanding that employees, while required to be at their station working for the duration of their shift, may leave their workstations for the purposes of bathroom breaks and other brief interruptions. We also condensed some language on excused absences for car accidents into our definition of dire circumstances that are considered excused.

    In regards to grace periods for leaving early at the end of shifts, we added language that very clearly defines that employees will complete all their work, clean and stock their stations, and check with a lead or supervisor for approval before leaving work early, and that abuse of this policy will result in progressive discipline. This allows employees and managers the flexibility to make decisions that make sense for everyone on a day to day basis. Finally, we clarified some language around the acceptance of doctor’s notes, and reached an understanding that while they will be provided to Sedgwick CMS for privacy reasons, the company itself will not rely on Sedgwick to make any determinations about whether or not to excuse an absence covered by such a doctor’s note.

  • Job Bidding & Transfers: eBay’s latest proposal on this changed job vacancies to job openings. Their reasoning on this is that while they often have a need to immediately fill a job opening, they do not always choose to do this, and do not want language that would compel them to fill any position that someone left for any reason. We proposed that open positions be left as such for 2 weeks, to allow employees a fair window to apply.

    Additionally, we requested remote access to internal job board postings (currently available on Workday, gated behind VPN access). We currently have access to Workday for the purpose of requesting time off, and have asked for the same kind of access so that employees can bid on jobs from home. Finally, we extended the window the company has to provide feedback to candidates from 14 days to 30 days to give them more time to be prepared to share this information.

  • Bargaining Unit Work: Our proposal on this remains largely unchanged from previous iterations, focusing on making sure that the work intended to be done by Union members is done only by Union members. We separated language regarding contractors, which we addressed in an additional proposal.
  • Contracting Work: Our proposal regarding contractors would prohibit the company from hiring contractors to perform bargaining unit work if this would require the layoff or termination of existing bargaining unit employees. We also proposed that the company should give us 30 days notice of their intent to engage with any contracting service.
  • Union Representation: The company responded to our last proposal on Union representation by requesting more detailed language regarding to whom the term Union representative refers. We added language that provides for the existence of Shop Stewards, and specified that we would like Stewards representing each department and shift in the unit. If a Steward is unavailable to represent a member, we added a provision that would bring in someone from the Local Union.

    To facilitate this, the Union will provide a list of Stewards, Chief Stewards, Local Officers and Union leaders to the company within 30 days of the beginning of our contract, and the Union will keep this list up to date. Finally, we added language that would excuse and pay employee representatives to bargain a successor to this contract, and ensured that employees will not lose pay- or job-grade for taking time to do Union business.

  • Joint Labor Management Committee: We changed language from our previous proposal to allow the company the ability to select from a broad range of representatives to this committee, as long as those representatives have the authority to resolve issues raised at committee. Additionally, we know that job shadowing is an important issue for many people in the unit, so we have proposed that building and implementing an effective job shadowing program be the first agenda item this committee discusses.
  • Resignation/Termination: This is a new proposal designed to define how the employer and employee handles terminations and resignations. Our proposal specifies that employees will provide 2 weeks notice, and will work their remaining 2 weeks. New PTO requests will not be approved during this time, unless such a request had been approved beforehand. Finally, we proposed that all employees be paid out the unpaid balance of their accrued PTO and floating holiday.
  • MoU on COVID-19: In response to information the company provided us about how they wish to move forward on COVID policy in 2024, we drafted a Memorandum of Understanding to allow the company to legally make the changes they told us they were interested in making. Our proposal guarantees employees 3 separate COVID-19 events for which they will get excused, paid time off. For the year of 2023, any number of COVID events will be considered a single COVID event. Per this agreement, the company will comply with any applicable changes to State or Federal law. Finally, the company will provide to employees a list of how many COVID events they have taken up to present day. The company’s bargaining team declined to sign or discuss this MoU.

Management’s Proposals

  • Recognition: The changes proposed here by management largely centered around how often and how a list of bargaining unit members should be provided to our Union. We have some work to do to reach an agreement on what format these reports should take, and which party carries the responsibility for tracking additions and subtractions to the total bargaining unit.
  • Management Rights: The company provided an updated version of their proposal on management rights, loosening some of the language around exclusivity of rights, as we continue to negotiate more TA’s, which continues to shape what is included in this article. Additionally, there was a change to their force majeure event clause, indicating that any sufficiently lengthy interruption of AC operations by a so-called ‘act of god’ must be brought to our Union for bargaining. While this brings us closer to a TA on this article, we continue to find it premature to agree to the bulk of the contents as management has written at this time.
  • Bulletin Boards: The company’s response to our proposal on bulletin boards was once again to offer a single bulletin board, this time in the 3rd floor break room, on the grounds that we do not work on the 1st and 2nd floors. Not only is this generally untrue, but we have always had access to all three lunchrooms, and people use them interchangeably. We did get an opportunity to clarify where and how we wanted to post on platforms like Slack.
  • Seniority: The company’s counter here continues to highlight layoff and recall, though they now have placeholder text to make room for where we might also refer to this article. Still, we find it entirely premature to include language that limits the scope of this article, as we envision using seniority in several other proposals. We continue to have fundamental disagreements about the importance of fine detail in the language we are using in this proposal. After some time, the discussion became unproductive and was halted.
  • Layoff & Recall: The company’s updated proposal on this includes a 14 day notice announcing their intentions to begin any cycle of layoffs. Affected employees would be contacted by both email and traditional mail service. Employees would be given 5 days to respond to recall before forfeiting their recall rights. Once accepting a recall, an employee would have 7 days to return to work, unless an earlier date is agreed upon by both the employee and the employer.
  • Visitation: The company’s counter on site visitation for Union representatives from the Local changed some language to conform to other articles in the contract agreement. They also specified email as the preferred means of communication between the Union and the company. Requests for access to the worksite should be given 72 hours in advance, though may be granted in shorter windows for emergent situations. This proposal is also quite specific about access to the worksite beyond the first floor conference areas, requiring specific, case by case approval.
  • Corrective Action: The company put this article forward mostly to define corrective action as it is defined in our contract agreement. We will need to take some time to compare this to the policy we have as it is currently written before signing off on a TA.
  • Overtime: Once again, we continue to be in disagreement on the matter of mandatory overtime, as this counter proposal once again includes a mechanism by which the company can mandate OT. In addition, a new section was added that went as far as to provide for mandatory overtime with 24 hours or less notice to employees as work needs dictate. This counter also removed our section that would count holiday pay as hours worked for overtime. This proposal added some restrictions to who will be selected for overtime shifts, and how much overtime may be assigned at maximum in a given day or week. Finally, it was proposed that missing voluntary or mandatory overtime as scheduled will result in an occurrence per the attendance policy.

Upcoming Dates

  • 2/18: Members’ Meeting
  • 3/3: Member Strategy Meeting
  • 3/5: Bargaining Session
  • 3/10: One-Year Celebration
  • 3/22: Bargaining Session
  • 3/24: Members’ Meeting