CWA gaming workers at eBAY and Sega advocate for protections during union contract negotiations at White House roundtable
CWA gaming workers joined workers across various industries to participate in a roundtable discussion at the White House on worker organizing. Mohammad Saman, a Sega worker with the Allied Employees Guild Improving SEGA-CWA (AEGIS-CWA) and Briana Thomas, an eBay worker with TCG Union-CWA, uplifted the critical importance of securing union contracts for the betterment of workers' rights and protections nationwide.
The roundtable, convened by Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, included key administration officials such as Director of the White House National Economic Council, Lael Brainard, and Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and former Labor Secretary, Tom Perez. Additionally, workers met with President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Senator Sanders. The roundtable discussion included seven young organizing leaders from across the sports, food and beverage, manufacturing, higher education, and technology industries.
On August 11, 2023 TCGplayer, a subsidiary of eBay, announced that it would formally recognize its workers’ union, TCGunion-CWA, and begin bargaining with workers on a first contract. The breakthrough follows months of delay after 272 workers voted to join CWA on March 10, 2023. Following the election, eBay and its subsidiary TCGplayer engaged in a series of illegal delay tactics to avoid meeting workers at the bargaining table. Workers filed multiple Unfair Labor Practice Charges against eBay and TCGplayer for their refusal to recognize the union and bargain with workers. The workers also organized a petition delivery action and garnered support online and held a press conference and rally in Syracuse, NY, which was joined by local community members, labor leaders, and elected officials at the rally.
“At eBay, my coworkers and I overwhelmingly won our union election, but eBay and its subsidiary TCGplayer have refused to play fair. Right now, the scales are tipped unfairly in favor of management. In order to improve working conditions for all workers, we must not only win our union elections, we must secure union contracts, and that is only possible if companies like eBay follow the law and bargain in good faith,” said Briana Thomas, an eBay worker with TCG Union-CWA. Click here to watch a video from the White House featuring Thomas sharing her experience following the roundtable discussion.
In a clear demonstration of the growing momentum of worker organizing within the gaming industry, over 200 workers at Sega, the multinational video game company behind franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog, Persona, and Like a Dragon, won their union election with the NLRB on July 10, 2023. With this victory, AEGIS-CWA became the largest multi-department unit of organized workers within the U.S. game industry.
“Workers in the video game industry care deeply about our work—and a union contract gives us the leverage to negotiate the fair working conditions and wages we need to make this a sustainable career. When video game companies can retain and develop talent, their products improve, and this is a benefit to both workers, the company, and gamers themselves. Thanks to its workers, Sega is a successful and beloved company, and that’s why we’re excited to use our power as a union to protect the things that make this company great and ensure every worker is getting their fair share. My colleagues and I recently won our union election, and we’re now ready to head to the bargaining table to secure a fair union contract and enshrine the protections and benefits we deserve. Winning our union election was only the first step—the real victory comes when we secure our first union contract,” said Mohammad Saman, a member of AEGIS-CWA.
TCG Union-CWA member Briana Thomas and Allied Employees Guild Improving SEGA (AEGIS)-CWA member Mohammad Saman.
eBay charged with multiple unfair labor complaints in struggle with its first union (The Verge, July 31, 2023)
CWA bargaining update - TCGplayer (eBay) (CWA, Aug. 3, 2023)
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