Bargaining Update #5 – 11/28/2023

Snapshot Summary

  • Takeaways: eBay’s bargaining team continues to engage with us in a dismissive and uncooperative manner. Because they refused to meaningfully engage with any of our proposals, we were not able to make progress on major contract items. It seems like the company’s strategy is to stall and waste time as much as possible.
  • We were able to reach tentative agreements on two minor articles. We officially signed tentative agreements on our Savings and Individual Agreements articles.
  • Union proposals: Access to Company Workplace and Labor Management Committee.
  • TCGplayer proposals: Seniority, Hours of Work, Employee Classifications, and Non-Discrimination.
  • Take action: Our Union is having a holiday party on 12/17! We have booked the Hops Spot from 6:30pm to 10:30pm! RSVP: https://forms.gle/B6z7TdtAUzGjWjPD9

Full Report

On November 28, we had our fifth bargaining session to continue negotiating our first contract. Our Committee for this session consisted of workers Bob Guy, Briana Thomas, Ethan Salerius, and CWA Staff Representative Mike Garry.

Over the past few sessions we have put across a significant amount of proposals and counter proposals. As you all know, we have agreed to negotiate non-economic proposals before moving on to economic proposals. We have already put forward the vast majority of our non-economic proposals. As a result, the amount of new proposals we will be able to put forward will be limited, until we reach tentative agreements on our pending proposals.

Due to the pressure we have put on the company through collective action the company is meeting more frequently for bargaining sessions. While more frequent bargaining sessions is a victory for us, it is the content of those sessions that matter. The bargaining committee has been working hard to put forward proposals that address the key issues of the bargaining unit. The company has yet to respond to fourteen of our proposals, choosing to drag their feet and focus on inconsequential issues. We should have most of our non-economics done by now. So far, we only have 4 customary, boilerplate tentative agreements. While these articles are crucial to a contract, they could have, and should have, been completed within the first session.

By contrast, other unions have completed contract negotiations from start to finish with their employers in as few as 8 sessions. The often cited average time frame of over a year to reach a contract is solely the result of employers refusing to bargain, period. eBay constantly reminds us of this to actively manage your expectations, because they intend to obstruct and delay these negotiations by any means possible.

When we have pushed eBay’s team to respond to our pending proposals, their answers are dismissive and avoidant. We are frequently told that they don't know when or if they will be responding to our proposals. They have also worked to bog down negotiations by insisting that we get caught up in inconsequential details of proposals. In addition, eBay’s bargaining team has struggled to arrive on time to bargaining sessions, have routinely taken 2 hours or more for meal breaks, end bargaining sessions at inconsistent times, and have communicated poorly, or not at all, with our team on all of these points.

The bottom line is that eBay will continue doing everything in their power to delay negotiations as long as possible unless we put a stop to it. When we stand together and show our collective power we get results! We have seen this from our rally in July, when the NLRB came back with their decision on eBay’s appeal and eBay decided not to appeal to a higher court. Our recent Slack action and unity pledge forced the company to schedule more bargaining sessions. We will get a fair contract, but it will take each and every one of us taking action to get there. We must stand up to tell eBay that we will not allow their continued delay tactics and bad-faith bargaining. We need a contract now, and we will do what it takes to get one. When we fight, we win!

Our Proposals

Our Union put forward 1 counter proposal and 1 new proposal.

  • Access to Company Worksite: This counter was in response to “Visitation” which management proposed on 11/16. The intent of the original proposal was to govern the way in which non-TCGplayer employee union representatives would be able to visit our worksite. We felt that their language was overly restrictive. Our language is less restrictive and is intended to give our union representatives the ability to visit the AC to provide representation, meet with management and investigate grievances. 
  • Union/Management Joint Committee: This proposal is intended to establish a committee of representatives elected by/from the bargaining unit and members of management in order to provide a forum to foster a collaborative relationship of communication and problem solving. This committee would provide feedback to management about health and safety concerns, process changes, policy and procedure changes, project intake, performance expectations and evaluations.

Management’s Proposals

Management’s bargaining team regrettably came to the table with significantly less than last time. They had a counter for us on Lockers, as well as new proposals on Visitation and Individual Agreements.

  • Seniority: This proposal was a counter to two of our previous proposals “Seniority” which we proposed on 10/30 and “Force Adjustment and Layoffs” which we proposed on 10/6. This proposal covers how eBay would like to establish seniority and how the company would like to handle layoffs. 

    In our original proposal for Seniority, we sought to restore time worked as a contractor and time lost as a result of furlough. The company has agreed to count time worked as a contractor in seniority. However, as written their language does not include any language regarding employees who were affected by furlough.
    Their proposal restricts the use of seniority to Layoffs and recall from layoffs. We would like to apply seniority to other aspects of the contract such as job bidding and wage progression.

    In our proposal “Force Adjustment and Recall” from 10/6, we proposed that members of the bargaining unit be laid off from least senior to most senior. The company has proposed that skill, attendance, cross-training, prior discipline, and other job-related performance and abilities should be factors in determining who gets laid off and in what order. We believe that this is too broad and subjective.
    We intend to counter this proposal. 

  • Employee Classifications: This proposal is a counter to our “Employee Classification” proposal from 11/16. The purpose of this proposal is to establish which employees are considered full time or part time. Their proposal modified the language from our proposal to align it more closely with eBay’s current policy, with one major exception. They eliminated a section of the proposal that said “All employees that work (20) or more hours per week will be entitled to all of the benefits provided for in this Agreement.” Alan Model said they rejected this part of the proposal because we have not bargained over the benefits or who is eligible for them. We believe that this should be easy for eBay to agree to because it is how their policy is currently written.
  • Non-Discrimination: This proposal is in response to the counter we gave them on 11/16. This proposal is meant to protect the bargaining unit from discrimination on the basis of protected characteristics from both the union and the company. The company does not want employees to have the option to report discrimination in the workplace to a union representative in the event they feel uncomfortable reporting the issue to a company representative. In our language, we give members of the bargaining unit the ability to come to union representatives to report discrimination. We intend to counter this proposal.
  • Hours of Work: This proposal establishes the rules for the work week, breaks, and overtime. The company put language in their proposal guaranteeing the bargaining unit two fifteen minute breaks. The most alarming provision in their proposal is that they would like to reserve the right to assign mandatory overtime. We are strongly opposed to mandatory overtime. There are also some other issues surrounding hours of work and breaks that we wish to address in this article. We intend to counter this proposal.

Upcoming Dates

  • 12/7: Bargaining Session
  • 12/17: Holiday Party
  • 12/18: Bargaining Session
  • 1/11: Input Sessions - Economic Issues (AM & PM)
  • 1/21: Members’ Meeting