Bargaining Update #13 – 3/22/2024

Snapshot Summary

  • Takeaways: Today’s session focused on important discussions around several pending proposals, leading to good progress on some of them. We reached one new TA, and proposed bargaining dates for May.
  • Workplace Issues: We discussed several outstanding issues affecting our coworkers, including surveillance and poor experiences with the recent wave of CX interviews. We learned late in the day about the change to FMLA policy and, regrettably, were unable to discuss the matter at the table.
  • Upcoming Sessions: April 4–5, April 29–30
  • Tentative Agreements: Reduced Work Schedule
  • Union proposals: Reduced Work Schedule, Open Bargaining Unit Positions, Bulletin Boards
  • TCGplayer proposals: Layoff & Recall; Hours of Work, Schedules & Breaks

Full Report

On March 22, 2024, we had our thirteenth bargaining session for our first contract. This was our last scheduled stand alone session, with several two-day sessions planned for April and more to come in May. Our bargaining team for this session consisted of Ethan Salerius, Bob Guy, and CWA staff negotiator Mike Garry.

Our latest session was well timed after our strong delivery of our Unity Pledge to Rob Bigler at Thursday’s Brunch and Brew. We feel this collective action had a positive impact on our bargaining position. We credit the progress we were able to make at the bargaining table to the strength and unity that was demonstrated when we delivered the pledge. We would like to thank the delegation that participated in the pledge delivery and wore red on Thursday. We are the union, and our strength comes from collective action!

We started today’s session asking about several of our outstanding requests for information, including updates on the new cameras and security measures installed in the AC over the last few weeks. We were disappointed to learn that the company has not yet finished gathering the requested information, but were able to learn some specifics about how many cameras were on each floor, and that there is increased coverage in most places. We also raised concerns from members about hiring practices during the recent wave of CX interviews.

We discussed a few outstanding items before digging into our proposals for the day, including attendance and progressive discipline, though the company’s position continues to strongly differ from our own on each of these subjects of bargaining. Our team had three proposals for today, while eBay’s team had two prepared.

Unfortunately, while this session was ongoing, we received messages from members about an immediate unilateral change to the effective FMLA policy, now requiring anyone who wishes to use job-protected FMLA leave time to first exhaust any accrued PTO for established medical needs. Time off and leave programs are mandatory subjects of bargaining, and the company has not upheld their obligation to bargain on this departure from past practice. More egregiously, we believe this new policy is immoral as it nullifies FMLA for our coworkers and eliminates the flexibility of well-deserved PTO for vacation and sick days. We hope that the company changes their position regarding this policy and respects the bargaining process by bringing this to a future session.

Tentative Agreements

  • Reduced Work Schedule: After a lengthy but productive discussion, we were able to make our intentions clear that our bargaining unit sees no value in a program that can be rescinded at any time by the company. We were able to secure agreement from eBay’s team that these schedules would be honored by the company. We were also able to agree that employees on a reduced work schedule will be permitted to work up to 40 hours a week—this will require 48 hours notice to your supervisor, and it is contingent on their approval. These were the final blockers between our sides on this issue, and we signed a TA on this proposal.

Our Proposals

  • Open Bargaining Unit Positions: We continue to maintain that it is vital that employees be given remote access to the company’s internal job board. In response to our last request for this, eBay’s bargaining team indicated that eBay Global Security policies were the blocker to providing this access. However, we already have access to other parts of Workday through dedicated links for this purpose, and we hope to be able to see these provided for the job board as well. The company has said they will investigate this with eBay Security, and have indicated that they are willing to meet us on this if this blocker can be overcome.
    Additionally, we reasserted our language that all job postings should include shift expectations including days and times. The company made note of a handful of scenarios where they may need to change these or prioritize certain shifts in the middle of the hiring process. We understand the company’s need to hire for specific shifts, but ask that all updates be made in real time, and that as much information be made available as possible at every stage of the process.
    We continue to assert that Seniority be a primary consideration among all qualified candidates for a role, which the company has so far refused to agree to. While we engaged in some productive discussion around the merits of which criteria to use, we are still in broad disagreement on this topic.
  • Bulletin Boards: Our latest proposal on Bulletin Boards once again seeks compromise on the number and location of the boards. We have offered a compromise of two boards, in the 1st and 3rd floor breakrooms. Additionally, we reworked some language that sets the boundaries of what is and is not acceptable for posting. Our proposal provides for individual designees from our Union who will be responsible for adding and removing posts, as well as provisions for the company to flag material for removal per this agreement. eBay’s team declined to respond to this proposal during this session.

Management’s Proposals

  • Layoff & Recall: There were several changes made here, and both sides engaged in a lot of discussion around the subject. Most central to the issue is the use of seniority as a determining factor for what order to issue layoffs. The company’s preference is to use performance-based metrics and other factors to determine who they want back first from layoff. We find this unacceptable for a number of reasons, including but not limited to protecting the interest of tenured TCGplayer employees as well as the quality of available performance metrics. Additionally, the company’s representatives raised practical concerns around maintaining metrics for returning employees on Performance Improvement Plans, as they use a running 90 day average for those metrics, as well as the desire to establish some kind of grace period for returning employees to retrain and get back to speed at their task. There are still many things to sort through for this, but armed with a better understanding of each side’s priorities, we are confident that a lot of progress can be made here at our next session.
  • Hours of Work, Schedules & Breaks: eBay’s bargaining team made significant changes to their proposal from previous iterations, but many of the core disagreements our Union has with their version remain the same. Their team took out the language we added that would have provided for two consecutive days off for all Union members who request it. They added language that clarifies their position that they feel the company alone should set schedules and hours, as well as streamlining some language around breaks. While the proposal has been simplified, we are no closer to reaching an agreement on this subject than before today’s session.

Upcoming Dates

  • 4/4: Bargaining Session
  • 4/5: Bargaining Session
  • 4/21: April Members’ Meeting
  • 4/29: Bargaining Session
  • 4/30: Bargaining Session