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Workers at MTG card seller TCGPlayer win union vote

Workers at TCGPlayer, a trading card marketplace dealing in Yugioh, Pokémon, and MTG cards, have successfully unionised, achieving a majority vote

MTG TCGPlayer union vote - logo of a dragon

Workers at eBay-owned trading card marketplace TCGPlayer have voted to form a union, in an election on Friday, March 10, that finished with 136 votes for and 87 against.

The 272 non-supervisory workers within the company’s authentication center, responsible for its Pokémon, Yugioh, and MTG card shipments, will now be represented by Communication Workers of America (CWA). This massive, 700,000-strong union spans numerous industries, from customer service to health care.

Shipping generalist, Jennifer Bonham, says she expects the union to make TCGPlayer a more equitable place to work. “We’re excited to finally have a seat at the table, a real voice on the job, and the protections provided by our union to ensure fairness and dignity in the workplace.”

TCGPlayer plays a major role in card games like Magic: The Gathering’s secondary marketplaces, where individual Pokémon, Yugioh, or MTG cards (and cards from other, smaller TCGs) are bought and sold by the games’ fans. It was acquired by eBay in August 2022 for $295 million, which makes TCGPlayer’s workers the first group of US eBay employees to win union representation.

MTG TCGPlayer union vote - logo of a dragon with a solidarity for workers poster

This is actually TCGPlayer employees second attempt to unionise, as an effort with a different union was abandoned in 2020 due to the pandemic.

On Twitter, TCGUnion-CWA announced its victory, thanked supporters, and outlined the next step: “bargaining our first contract”. This can be an arduous process for newly formed unions, often taking well over a year.

A good illustration of that is the union at another MTG seller, Card Kingdom. Card Kingdom workers successfully formed a union on July 26, 2022. Seven months later, and according to the union’s latest statement, in February “Card Kingdom offered little or no improvements on current working conditions.”

According to a Bloomberg analysis, the average time for unionised workers and employers to reach a first contract is 409 days.

TCGPlayer is just one of a number of tabletop-focused businesses to unionise in recent months, following in the footsteps of – not just Card Kingdom – but also games stores like Mox Boarding House, Noble Knight Games, and Pathfinder publisher Paizo.