Feb 23, 2024 | News Story

Barnes & Noble Workers at the UWS Manhattan Store File for Union Election with RWDSU

Barnes & Noble workers at the West 82nd Street Store in New York City this week filed for their union election with the NLRB seeking representation with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Their filing follows five overwhelming union votes nationwide by workers at Barnes & Noble Inc. and one at Barnes & Noble Education so far. When successful, workers at this store will join two other unionized stores in New York City including the Flagship at Union Square and the Park Slope, Brooklyn store.

With a majority of workers in favor of forming a union, workers asked Barnes & Noble to voluntarily recognize the union so that contract negotiations could commence swiftly around a host of issues workers are contending with. The company at any time can voluntarily recognize the union, but has yet to do so at any store despite overwhelming shows of support for union representation. Workers at the UWS store have concerns over job security, a lack of structure when it comes to job duties and tasks at work, and favoritism by management.

“Our organizing efforts mirror the swell in the labor movement nationwide, adding our voice to the collective force of workers who demand that the standards of their workplace be raised, for the betterment of themselves and those that will come after them," said Lauren Champlin, Bookseller at the Upper West Side Barnes & Noble store. "As a Barnes & Noble bookseller, I take immense pride in the role we play in our Upper West Side neighborhood and, as a company, in local communities across the country. In organizing, I want Barnes & Noble employees to receive the pay, protection, and respect reflective of the care and specialized skills each of us brings to our role."

When successful, the RWDSU will represent about 50 NLRA eligible workers at the 82nd Street store. The workers in the proposed bargaining units include Booksellers, Baristas, Cashiers, Maintenance, and all non-supervisory employees at each of the stores. Read more here.