Bargaining Update #17 – 5/20/2024

Snapshot Summary

  • Takeaways: eBay’s team was more engaged this session, leading to better progress than our previous one. We have no doubt that this is the result of recent actions. Both sides came prepared with a solid number of proposals, and our team worked throughout the day to produce several more before the sessions’s close. We were able to score yet another new TA in our growing first contract.
  • Upcoming Sessions: June 13–14, June 28
  • Tentative Agreements: Military Leave
  • Workplace Issues: Employee Discipline, Stewards (Pre-Contract), Weingarten Representation
  • Union Proposals: Educational Assistance, Disability, Worker’s Compensation, Contracting out Work, Bulletin Boards
  • TCGplayer Proposals: Gender Inclusivity, Political Action Fund Deductions, Payroll/Dues Deductions, Hours of Work/Schedules/Breaks, Military Leave, Resignations

Full Report

On May 20th, 2024, we had our seventeenth bargaining session for our first contract. Our team for this session included Briana Thomas, Ethan Salerius and Bob Guy, as well as CWA staff rep Mike Garry. Despite a later start, we were able to get several proposals from both sides across the table, as well as one new tentative agreement.

While we found the company’s response to our Gender Equity proposal insufficient to meet the needs of our coworkers, we want to highlight the awesome work of our coworkers in mobilizing around the issue. Whether you stood with your fellow Union members at the rally at the IWF Gala, or joined in solidarity with them at the coordinated 15, it's thanks to your efforts that the company felt pressured to issue a response to our proposal. The progress we’ve made up to this point belongs to all of our coworkers, and we are motivated by everyone’s continued action and solidarity!

We have several issues we have prepared for tomorrow, as well as some responses to today’s proposals from the company. A full bargaining report with a complete list of resolved and outstanding proposals will follow, stay tuned for more updates!

Tentative Agreements

  • Military Leave: This relatively simple proposal covers the law as it applies to leave for employees who are also in active or reserve duty for the US armed forces. The company’s response added some clarifying language around how much leave an employee is eligible for under the law, and generalized references to third parties such as Sedgwick. We found the changes agreeable, and were able to reach a TA on this proposal.

Workplace Issues

  • Employee Discipline: In response to several employees voicing issues about unfair workplace discipline, we requested that the company walk back disciplinary action since last March, and bargain over the effects of any related issues. eBay’s team refused this request, insisting that the law does not require them to bargain over discipline before we reach a contract. We will continue to revisit this issue in pursuit of fairness and equity for our coworkers.
  • Stewards (Pre-Contract): While the Bargaining Committee has been effectively standing in as Stewards for our Union for some time, we proposed a formalization of these roles for Robert Guy, Ethan Salerius, and Briana Thomas until such time as a contract is reached. The company broadly agreed that some formalization of this would streamline the working relationship between our Union and the company on the floor, but we are still waiting for a detailed response from eBay’s team.
  • Weingarten Representation: Since our certification, we have had a number of coworkers invoke their Weingarten rights in response to investigatory meetings initiated by the company. However, since we haven’t reached a contract yet, we do not have the systems in place to cleanly facilitate the communications needed between our Union and the company. Both the company and our Union will establish dedicated email channels for the purpose of communicating representation needs as soon as possible.

Our Proposals

  • Educational Assistance Programs: Our proposal on Educational Assistance largely mirrors the company’s existing policy for this benefit, but would increase the annual reimbursement limit to $6,000 dollars per year. We have not yet received a response from the company on this proposal.
  • Disability: We feel it is important to add this to our contract to protect our rights in the event of any changes to the law or possible interpretations of it. Our proposal defines the portion of lost wages to be contributed by the state and by the company.
  • Workers Compensation: As in the above proposal, we want to lock in current law as the floor in our contract in the event that legal requirements are ever weakened. Medical expenses for injuries sustained on the job will be covered. Employees out on worker’s compensation will receive two-thirds of their usual pay, and will continue to be covered for medical, vision, and dental.
  • Contracting Out Work: The company’s most recent proposal defined part-time work as under 20 hours a week, which we felt left far too much room for the company to use contractors to cut full-time employees’ hours. After discussing the issue with management, we found ourselves broadly in agreement that neither party was interested in seeing a return to contractors in the AC at this time. As such, our counter proposal strictly prohibits any contracting that would result in any reduction of hours for members of the bargaining unit.
  • Bulletin Boards: After reviewing some of the company’s concerns with previous iterations with this proposal, we moved language addressing Slack communications to its own proposal. We also added language that would keep postings limited to the bulletin boards in the break room. eBay’s team continues to express anxiety around what our Union might post on our boards without very specific restrictions. We don’t believe posts on our Union bulletin boards should be any more restrictive than policies related to sharing of information elsewhere throughout the company.

Management’s Proposals

  • Gender Inclusivity: Management’s response to our Gender Equity proposal stripped much of the substance and intent from what we put forward. We feel that their response would provide insufficient protection for the women, trans, and gender non-conforming workers in the AC. We disagree with the company’s assertion that our proposal was limited to inclusivity—it is our position that equity is a higher standard that requires active engagement from the company to ensure a safe, healthy workplace for all of our coworkers.

    The company would also prefer to remove any mention of pay or benefits, while we believe it is important to define a material commitment to the spirit of equity to ensure this article lives up to its intended purpose. We will continue to push for robust protections, and measures that actively promote this equity in our workplace.

  • Political Action Fund Deductions: The company responded to our original proposal from last September with language that would allow for payroll deductions for the CWA political action fund (PAF) on a voluntary basis. The most significant change in their counter was a 60 day delay between requesting a change and it taking effect. After discussion with eBay’s team, we found they were likely flexible on this time frame.
  • Payroll/Dues Deductions: As with PAF deductions, management’s counter on dues deductions also included a 60-day delay for requested changes to take effect. The company is open to reducing this time frame, however, their proposal included language which unnecessarily restricts the Union’s ability to manage its rolls and process dues payments. We will draft a response that meets the needs of our Union for a future session.
  • Hours of Work/Schedules/Breaks: The company’s latest response explicitly rejects our demand that all employees be allowed two consecutive days off if they so choose. The company is not willing to provide this quality of life improvement, citing the difficulty of balancing business needs. We do not believe this is a sufficient excuse for failing to provide such a meaningful change. eBay did agree to our language allowing people to step away from their desks for short periods of time, so long as such breaks are not considered excessive. They also added language compliant with recent changes to NY State law regarding nursing employees.
  • Resignations: This proposal covers the expected protocol for employees voluntarily leaving the company, but removes language that would pay out employees for unused floating holidays. Through discussion we reached an understanding that they are not trying to use this protocol to flag individuals as ineligible for rehire or strip them of earned payouts. We are close on this language, and are waiting for eBay’s team to consult about the possibility of payouts for the floating holiday.

Upcoming Dates

  • 6/13: Bargaining Session
  • 6/14: Bargaining Session
  • 6/23: June Members’ Meeting
  • 6/28: Bargaining Session
  • 7/21: July Members’ Meeting
  • 8/18: August Members’ Meeting
  • 9/15: September Members’ Meeting