Back in August 2022, the e-commerce giant eBay shocked MTG players as it announced it was acquiring card retailer TCGplayer for $295 million. Following this surprise acquisition, TCGplayer continued to operate independently as it has done since being founded in 1998. Despite this continued independence, however, eBay’s acquisition has evidently ruffled some feathers, both within the MTG community and within TCGplayer. So much so, in fact, that recently, TCGplayer workers have announced their intention to form a union. Upon hearing this news, across social media, many MTG players have been quick to voice their support for the workers.
Alliance of Arms
Previously, TCGplayer workers first attempted to unionize back in March 2020. Working with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the petition to form this union would ultimately be withdrawn just days before the vote. Following on from this past attempt, TCGplayer employees are now organizing to become members of the Communications Workers of America. This labor union has already partnered with a number of video game and TCG companies such as Noble Knight Games and Mox Boarding House. According to a report from Polygon, if successful the union will encompass “280 non-managerial workers in the authentication center, covering jobs like sorting, research, quality, shipping, and other operations. This group of people touch all the cards that come through TCGplayer.”
Explaining the worker’s desire to form the union, inventory specialist Lindsey Gancasz spoke with Polygon. In this interview, Gancasz stated “the eBay acquisition was a fire under a lot of people. […] It encouraged a lot of people to start thinking about unionization. The last union efforts didn’t succeed, but people have still been focused on creating a better workplace for everyone. I love — and I know a lot of my coworkers love — the place we work. And with a lot of unknowns, we want to ensure that what makes it a good place to work continues to stay that way. With the union, we can get those conditions in writing and advocate for ourselves.”
Alongside this explanation, TCGplayer workers laid out their goals within a vision statement and petition to management. Within this document, unionizing employees stated they are organizing for increased wages, comprehensive sick leave, inclusive opportunities, as well as better communication.
Might of the Masses
Following the announcement that TCGplayer workers are attempting to unionize, many members of the vast TCG community reached out with words of support. On Reddit, for instance, MTG players were almost unilaterally supportive of the workers in this venture. “Hell yeah, I hope they manage it,” Reddit user u/AlexKorobeiniki commented. “I buy almost exclusively from TCGplayer and it would be awesome to know that the people who ship my orders were being properly taken care of.” This supportive sentiment was echoed across Reddit in over 100 comments. Despite the potential for increased costs, it’s clear that MTG players want what’s best for TCGplayer’s workers.
“DO ITTTTTTT. I will start buying from them again if so. Worker solidarity.”u/Imprisonedskeleton
“I use TCG player all the time, I’ll sign and support the workers unionizing.”u/InsideHangar18
“So glad to see such unanimous support for the workers here. I dunno why but I was worried to look in the comments at first. Everyone deserves a union.”u/atlantick
Currently, should TCGplayer workers succeed in organizing a union, it’s unclear how it may affect MTG players. It’s possible that prices on products may increase, however, it’s equally possible that costs won’t be passed on to customers. Despite this lingering doubt, MTG players still valiantly supported the workers’ cause. “Pretty much only have bought from Cardkingdom since they unionized,” Reddit user u/A_Human_Probably_ commented. “Happy to pay a slightly higher price to know the employees are getting treated well. Would be great to have another unionized option though!” Once again, across Reddit, this sentiment was shared by several users who stated a unionized workforce would bring their business. Similarly, should the union fail, some players suggested they might have to take their business elsewhere.
“If TCGP does unionize, then I’ll start using them alongside CK.”u/NorfDakoda
“If TCG fights this and causes the unionization to fail I’ll have to take my business elsewhere, convenience be damned.”u/Triskitguru
Witness the Future
Currently, it’s unclear whether or not this latest attempt to organize a union from TCGplayer employees will be successful. It may have the backing of the MTG community, however, the previous attempt in 2020 did nevertheless fail. While the future may be unclear, in the interim eBay has released a statement commenting on the unionization effort. Provided to Polygon, the statement is as follows:
“At eBay, we exist to connect people and build communities. This starts with our employees and it’s how we bring our purpose to life every day. We value the talent and contributions of every employee — empowering each individual to grow with us.
eBay respects the right of our employees to choose or refuse union representation. That said, we are proud that our unwavering commitment to employee-focused values has built a culture throughout our company where thousands of employees use their voice, ideas, and talents together, in collaboration with each other, toward a shared objective, without union representation.
TCGplayer shares eBay’s employee-focused values and commitment to building a workplace culture that gives employees a voice and opportunity to actively shape their future — and the future of the business. As TCGplayer joins eBay, we are confident the TCGplayer employees will feel that same connection and contribute to our shared success.”eBay