Bargaining Update #12 – 3/5/2024

Snapshot Summary

  • Takeaways: We were able to make progress on many existing proposals, as well as two new ones from our Union. We reached two new Tentative Agreements (TA), however the company rejected our Memorandum of Understanding for a wage increase.
  • Upcoming Sessions: We have one more session later this month (March 22), and our first two-day session is scheduled for April 4–5. We’re excited for the momentum back-to-back sessions will offer and hope for more dates scheduled soon!
  • Tentative Agreements: Bargaining Unit Covered, Joint Labor/Management Committee
  • Union proposals: Seniority, Bulletin Boards, Layoff & Recall, Progressive Discipline, Access to Company Worksite, Leaves of Absence (Unpaid), Military Leave
  • TCGplayer proposals: No Strike/No Lockout, Open Bargaining Unit Positions, Reduced Work Schedule, Rules/Regulations/Policies

Full Report

On March 5th, 2024, we had our twelfth bargaining session on the verge of the one year anniversary of winning our Union! We’ve come a long way since our election last March, and, despite hurdles along the way, we are proud of the progress we’ve made. This was our first session after holding weekly caucuses throughout February. Full-day caucuses give us invaluable time to work on proposals with our staff representatives. The company consistently refuses to grant excused unpaid time off to make this work possible, but the effort we put in last month has prepared us well for this session and beyond. Our committee for this session consisted of Briana Thomas, Ethan Salerius, and Bob Guy, as well as CWA staff negotiator Mike Garry and CWA Local 1123 President Chris Ryan.

To start this session, we addressed concerns raised by our coworkers regarding the addition of multiple new security measures in the AC, including new cameras and newly stationed security guards. Our Union has the right to bargain over the effects of any new policy and procedure that impacts our unit, including surveillance practices. We demanded that these new cameras be disabled until such bargaining has taken place with our Union. Management claimed to be waiting on additional information from both eBay and the contractors that installed the cameras before they could tell us more.

We got clarification from management that badge readers are being installed to elevators restricting access to the third floor entirely for safety and security reasons. During this process, additional guards are in place to make sure that everyone entering the floor is authorized. These guards will not be posted after the new tech is installed and functional.

Finally, we insisted again on a formal response to our proposed Memorandum of Understanding regarding a wage increase. Despite the company’s history of increasing wages as minimum wage increases, eBay’s team rejected our MoU as written, preferring to delay any possible raise by months as they refuse to negotiate this anywhere but in our contract.

Tentative Agreements

  • Bargaining Unit Covered: Who is covered in the bargaining unit has been a matter of some disagreement, compounded with the fact that our hearing on unit clarification is still outstanding. Our latest counter on this issue made some minor changes to the address listed for TCGplayer’s AC. We chose to omit specific floors and suites currently occupied, as the company maintains an unrealistically narrow definition of what constitutes locations our unit works in. After some discussion, we were able to reach a Tentative Agreement on this subject.
  • Joint Labor/Management Committee: Management’s latest proposal here clears up some language, and provides for five members from management to make up their side of this committee. We agreed that grievances should be handled through channels other than this committee. They once again proposed to meet quarterly, while we had been seeking a more frequent schedule. We were able to reach a compromise, agreeing to meet every other month, and successfully reached a Tentative Agreement.

Our Proposals

  • Seniority: Our latest counter on Seniority included some simple language clarifications throughout, as well as an attempt to find middle ground with management’s position on how long seniority should be maintained during an extended layoff. Our proposal provides for 9 months of continued seniority during any layoff.

    Management had a counter for this proposal in the later half of the day, with language that brings us significantly closer to agreement. They agreed to our 9 month seniority protection, and removed some of their most restrictive language, replacing it with a more generic set of placeholder language to be updated as the contract progresses.

  • Bulletin Boards: The Bargaining Committee maintains that bulletin boards should be provided in the first, second and third floor breakrooms. The company insists that only one bulletin board should be provided to our Union in the third floor break room. We engaged in additional discussion, with our team very clearly outlining the reality of the fact that dozens of bargaining unit members use all three breakrooms every day.
  • Layoff & Recall: We did our best to meet the company’s bargaining team half way while still addressing the core concerns our unit has about layoffs. We agreed to a 14 day notification period ahead of any layoffs, down from 30 days, and clarified that bargaining unit employees would be returned to positions within the bargaining unit on recall. Finally, we included language giving workers an option to cash out their existing PTO bank upon being laid off. Individuals not opting for a cash out would retain PTO banks for a potential return to work or later payout at the end of the layoff period.
  • Progressive Discipline: We maintain that employees should only be disciplined for just cause. We also maintain that discipline should be proportionate and progress in a clearly defined track.
  • Access to Company Worksite: Previous iterations of this proposal from the company have been needlessly restrictive, treating CWA staff and elected representatives who may need to visit our worksite like spies or thieves who need constant surveillance. While our latest proposal concedes that there should be a known list of pre-approved Union representatives cleared to visit the AC, Union representatives should be treated no differently than any other business visitor coming to HQ for any other reason.
  • Leaves of Absence (Unpaid): NEW! We have proposed that unpaid leave should be available to unit members for reasons including but not limited to extended leave after a medical incident, union business, or going back to school. Such leave will last no more than 30 days, which may be extended once in a 12 month period. Eligibility requires that all other forms of PTO and leave be exhausted. This leave should not be unreasonably denied. The employee will be responsible for their share of contributions towards benefits, and will be returned to their previous position on return to work. This article also covers FMLA in detail, as written in law. For more information on FMLA and the law surrounding it, visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla.
  • Military Leave: NEW! All employees in our unit, like most other employees in the United States, qualify for leave from work for military service per the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). This covers leaves for active duty or for training duty. While most of this article simply clarifies our rights under the law, we also proposed to keep the current company policy that exists for providing make-up pay for up to 2 weeks, making up the difference between an employee’s regular wage and what they are paid for their service.

Management’s Proposals

  • No Strike/No Lockout: The company’s position in its latest proposal continues to be unacceptable. While we are willing to agree to ensure uninterrupted operations for the duration of our contract, we have the legally protected right to engage in protected concerted activity, including informational picketing, handbilling, and other kinds of demonstrations that do not directly impact the company’s ability to engage in normal business. Their proposal continues to demand we sign these rights away.
  • Open Bargaining Unit Positions: While we are closer on this issue, we continue to have a fundamental disagreement on providing access to our internal job board while not on site. The company’s bargaining team has cited eBay’s security policies as the reason this cannot be provided outside of eBay’s own networks and VPN. However, we find it unreasonable, especially for those members of our unit with long commutes, to require job bidding to be performed entirely on site. Furthermore, this most recent proposal fails to provide paid time for this activity.
  • Reduced Work Schedule: Despite this program being of the company’s own design, we remain unable to fully agree on the specifics of implementation. eBay’s team continues to ask for quarterly eligibility periods, along with the ability to compel team members on a RWS to work up to 40 hours anyway, largely defeating the purpose of the policy.
  • Rules/Regulations/Policies: Management insists on language that would allow unilateral changes without consulting our Union. Even with a right to grieve such changes, our desire is for proactive cooperation to avoid needless issues. We maintain that we should be involved in decision making processes as early as possible

Upcoming Dates

  • 3/10: Anniversary Celebration
  • 3/16: March with Local Labor in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade!
  • 3/22: Bargaining Session
  • 3/24: Members’ Meeting
  • 4/4 Bargaining Session
  • 4/5 Bargaining Session