Gaming Workers at eBAY and Sega Organized with Communications Workers of America Advocate for Protections During Union Contract Negotiations at White House Roundtable Discussion
(Washington D.C.) – Today, gaming workers, members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), 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.
“It is clear that the Biden Administration is invested in the struggles facing working people organizing for our fair share across the country. At today’s roundtable discussion, I saw how the individual challenges we face as organized workers are the same no matter what industry you work in. We work tirelessly to exercise our legally protected right to organize and often face intense union-busting campaigns. Despite these efforts, we continue to win our union elections. However, that does not stop companies from avoiding sitting down with workers and honestly engaging in a negotiating process to secure a fair union contract. 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.
On Friday, March 10, 2023, a majority of workers at eBay-owned TCGplayer won their union election. TCGplayer is one of the largest online marketplaces for verification services, card games, comics, and collectible trading cards. It was acquired by eBay in November 2022. The workers, known as TCG Union-CWA, are the first group of eBay workers to win union representation in the U.S. Since their union election victory, management has engaged in various delay tactics and a robust union-busting campaign to deny workers the opportunity to sit at the negotiating table and bargain for a fair contract.
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.
The Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE-CWA) is a network of worker-organizers and their staff working every single day to build the voice and power necessary to ensure the future of the tech, game, and digital industries in the United States and Canada. CODE-CWA is a project of the Communications Workers of America which represents hundreds of thousands of workers throughout tech, media, telecom, and other industries who stand together to fight for justice on the job and in our communities.