Barnes & Noble Workers Flagship Union Square Store Vote Overwhelmingly to Join the RWDSU
Wednesday night, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced that, by an overwhelming vote of 97% in favor of the union, workers at Barnes & Noble’s Flagship Union Square store have voted to join the RWDSU. Building upon last month’s unanimous wins by workers at Barnes & Noble College Booksellers at Rutgers University with RWDSU and by Barnes & Noble workers in Hadley, Massachusetts with UFCW Local 1459. Wednesday’s win also comes amid a longstanding streak of wins by the RWDSU at independent booksellers in the New York area, including McNally Jackson, Goods for the Study, Greenlight Bookstore and Book Culture, as well as the union election petition of workers at Barnes & Noble’s Park Slope, Brooklyn store.
Workers at the store face continued safety issues amid the rebound of the pandemic, including workplace harassment, substandard pay for the industry below that of independent booksellers, unstable scheduling practices, a lack of structure when it comes to job duties and tasks at work, and favoritism by management. Issues they’re looking to address in their first contract negotiations.
“I am so proud of my coworkers and excited to move forward as a unionized bookstore and a member of RWDSU. We still have work ahead of ourselves, but today we have shown how dedicated we are to improving our store for ourselves and each other. We are ready to create a better workplace and a better future for Barnes & Noble employees,” said Jessica Sepple, 28 (She/Her), Senior Bookseller at the Barnes & Noble Flagship Union Square store. Read more here and in Bloomberg News and AP News.