Unionized workers at eBay's TCGplayer accuse company of union busting
Employees of TCGplayer, an online trading card marketplace in Syracuse are accusing the company, now owned by eBay, of union busting. It’s one example of a rebirth of the union movement in central New York.
Dozens of TCGplayer workers marched through the City of Syracuse rallying support in their fight to get contract negotiations with the online card trading company. Briana Thomas, who works in the shipping department, is among those who organized the union vote in March.
"Ever since they have refused to even recognize that we have a union," Thomas said.
Union organizer Richard Vallejo said that leaves the more than 270 workers in limbo, with no say about their working conditions.
“Depending on tenure, we’re losing between 56 and 80 hours of time off per year," Vallejo said. "We haven’t seen an increase in our base pay for two to three years."
This is the first time workers for eBay have unionized in the U.S. Union members claim eBay is engaging in stalling techniques to silence workers.
Dozens of union members from other locals joined the TCGplayer workers at the rally. Mark Spadafore, president of the Greater Syracuse Labor Council, said it’s a sign of the recent trend to unionize in central New York, that’s included Starbucks and graduate student workers at Syracuse University.
"We have 1,500 workers this year alone and we haven’t had those kinds of numbers in decades," Spadafore said.
Spadafore said one of the trademarks of this labor union rebirth is its youth.
"It's not your father's labor movement," Spadafore said. "It's not people who have the normal kind of image of what a union worker is, of like kind of this big, burly, white guy with a hard hat. We're seeing people with pink hair and tattoos and stuff like that you wouldn't have seen maybe 20 years ago."
Thomas hopes the central New Yorkers can inspire other eBay workers to organize.
"We're seeing all of the eBay policies that they're handing down to us now and none of them are adequate," Thomas said. "If these are the standard policies across the board, then I really hope that eBay is about to see a lot more unions coming through."