Etsy strike organizer says forming a union is the next step

Etsy strike organizer Kristi Cassidy's online petition gained over 62,000 supporters

Etsy strike organizer Kristi Cassidy's online petition protesting a hike in seller fees has gained support from more than 62,000 people. 

The next step is to try and form a union, Cassidy told FOX Business. 

"But, I hesitate to call it that because what does the union even look like for Etsy sellers?" she said. 

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In the online petition addressed to Etsy CEO Josh Silverman, which has gained a strong backing, Cassidy is drawing attention to a variety of issues she says sellers are facing on the platform, including the company's plans to increase transaction fees. Starting Monday, Etsy sellers must pay a 6.5% commission on each transaction, up from the 5% in place since 2018. 

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"We work so hard. I think the most horrible circumstance imaginable is to bring Etsy record profits for multiple years in a row, and they don't need to increase the amount that they take from us in response to that," Cassidy told FOX Business. 

Cassidy and more than 60,000 other petitioners are also taking issue with Etsy’s advertising policy. It requires sellers making at least $10,000 a year on Etsy and who have their products advertised on Etsy’s offsite social media and search-engine partners, to pay a 12% advertising fee on sales made through the ads. 

She is also pleading for Silverman to crack down on resellers, or people selling mass-produced goods that they have not designed themselves. 

Etsy did not respond to FOX Business' requests for comment.

Etsy logo seen displayed on a smartphone.  (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

This week, Cassidy plans to collaborate with the other 500 people who have joined a Discord server – a group chatting platform – to draft a plan for how to organize. 

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"We're going to do some kind of collaborative document that we can all work on," Cassidy said. 

They already have delegated teams that are slated to focus on a variety of tasks, including outreach, social media and a blog post, according to Cassidy. 

Their immediate goal in trying to form a union is "simply to get Etsy to listen to us and turn Etsy back into the platform that … helped us all grow our businesses so well," she said. 

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As of now, the increases are working against Etsy sellers she said, adding that these are businesses run by human beings "who might only have so much time in the day to fulfill orders." 

"When you’re creating everything that you sell in such a labor-intensive way, more sales for less money is not what you want," she said. "It’s like your boss forcing you to work overtime for less income instead of more." 

On the other hand, their long-term goals, Cassidy said, "are really hard to pin down" just yet. 

However, as they attempt to form a union, Cassidy says it will be vital to listen to the Etsy community. 

"Whatever we build as far as the union/solidarity organization will be dependent on what everyone that has joined the movement wants us to be," she said. "I want to make sure that we are still speaking for the community of 22,000 people."

Regardless, she wants to cultivate an environment "where it’s possible to grow a handmade business to success." 

Cassidy argued that you can't do that on "a platform that’s solely focused on profit and growth." 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.