Bargaining Update #2 – 10/6/2023


  • We are pushing to meet at least once a week for Bargaining and have proposed 20+ dates in coming weeks. Management has not yet responded to these requested dates or to the three proposals we submitted on 9/8.
  • On 10/6, we submitted three more proposals on just cause discipline & discharge; Union rights & responsibilities; and force adjustments, layoffs, and recall. These proposals protect our rights in case of layoffs, set up a transparent process for disciplinary action, and build a foundation for how we expect to work together with management as a union in the future. Management has not responded to these proposals. 
  • Management introduced a proposal of their own on 10/6 containing several articles including management rights, rules & regulations, and no-strike. We have not agreed to these proposals because, as written, they would take away our rights as workers. We will counter these proposals with more reasonable and fair terms.

On October 6th, we had our second bargaining session to continue negotiations for our first contract. In light of the ongoing Unit Clarification hearings, our committee consisted of Mike Garry, CWA contract negotiator; Deb Hayes, CWA District 1 Area Director; Chris Ryan, Local 1123 President; and workers Bob Guy, Briana Thomas, and Ethan Salarius.

Our Union introduced three new proposals during this session. These proposals included a Discipline & Discharge article, an article on Union Rights & Responsibilities, and a proposal on Force Adjustment, Layoff, & Recall.

  • Discipline & Discharge: just cause termination, progressive discipline, and Union representation in any and all meetings between members and management, up to and including discipline and accommodations meetings, should the member request representation. Just cause termination, progressive discipline, and Union representation in meetings, are core protections that we must secure in our Union contract.
  • Union Rights & Responsibilities: rights of our Union Stewards to perform Union related work, the Union’s rights to engage with new hires in Orientation, a dedicated on-site bulletin board for Union communication, and a successor clause. The successor clause simply requires that the Company inform a prospective buyer or merger of the existing bargaining unit and binding union contract, and that the successor honors the contract to its expiration.
  • Force Adjustment, Layoffs, and Recall: in the event of an unavoidable layoffs, this article details the protections and procedures regarding how layoffs would be handled, including the recall (re-employment) of laid-off workers prior to new hiring.

Unfortunately, the company failed to provide counters to our first three proposals which we introduced on September 8. These proposals, on non-discrimination, Union Recognition, and Arbitration and Grievance, are critical to our contract and we are disappointed that we have not received a response on them yet.

Representatives for the company, including legal counsel Alan Model, refused to commit to our next bargaining session date. We provided a list of 20+ dates over the next month and a half, with the hope that we will be able to meet at least twice a week. We have a lot to bargain over, and our Union has waited long enough to get a voice at the table. We expected to hear a response on their availability by Tuesday, October 10th, however they still have not committed to any dates.

TCGplayer/eBay introduced a broad proposal which, on the whole, would substantially weaken our first contract. In addition to a preamble, these articles include “Intent”, “Bargaining Unit Covered”, “Management Rights”, “Rules, Regulations, Policies and Procedures”, and a “No Strikes/No Lockouts” clause. Sections of this proposal contained an exhaustive list of management rights which are contrary to any reasonable Union contract, explicitly forfeiting our Union’s ability to negotiate on specific subjects, and would enshrine the company’s power to make changes to the terms of our employment at will. We are not willing to sign away union member’s rights or protections, and as a result we were unable to find common ground on the proposal. While we intend to revisit these articles in future bargaining sessions with a significant overhaul, we have indicated to TCGplayer’s representatives that we are not comfortable agreeing to any Tentative Agreement at this stage of negotiations which hands away legal rights of our Union members.

Unit Clarification

The National Labor Relations Board conducted the first two days of our unit clarification hearings on Tuesday, October 3, and Wednesday, October 4. A third day had been scheduled for Thursday, October 5, but was postponed due to a medical issue.

Early on the first day it became readily apparent that the unit clarification process would not conclude in the three days as anticipated. At every step of the process management and their legal counsel kept the process to a crawl, taking the entire first morning to produce evidence and conducting an intensive examination of both of their witnesses called to this point. We do not yet know how many witnesses the company intends to call to testify on their behalf, and we must wait until all of the company’s witnesses are examined before we are able to call any of our own. While we are not yet able to discuss many details of the process, one of the key claims being made by management so far is that the third floor is located in a separate building from the first and second floors. This point characterizes the nature of much of management’s claims over the two days of hearings.

While all of us workers continue to “go beyond” in our work to the company’s benefit, we do not feel that the company is making reciprocal efforts for the benefit of its workers with the events of the past week. We continue to hold out hope for better progress in the coming weeks. It is important to use this time to show management that we are not backing down, and that we all stand in solidarity with the bargaining committee. Be sure to attend the next members’ meeting for information on our next solidarity actions!