FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 25, 2023
Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259
BARNES & NOBLE WORKERS AT THE PARK SLOPE, BROOKLYN STORE FILE FOR THEIR UNION ELECTION WITH RWDSU
Filing Follows the Union Election Petition by Workers with RWDSU at the Union Square Flagship Barnes & Noble Store and a Win by Workers with RWDSU at Rutgers University’s Barnes & Noble College Booksellers Store. News Follows an Unbroken Streak of Union Bookstore Wins with RWDSU Including Independent Booksellers McNally Jackson, Greenlight and Book Culture
(NEW YORK, NY) – Today, Barnes & Noble workers at the Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York store filed for their union election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking representation with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). This comes just days after workers at the Barnes & Noble College Booksellers store on the Rutgers University campus won their union election unanimously with RWDSU. The petition also swiftly follows that of the Union Square Flagship store filing for their union election with RWDSU, their election is set for Wednesday, June 7, 2023. Today’s news follows a streak of wins by the RWDSU at independent booksellers, including McNally Jackson, Goods for the Study, Greenlight Bookstore and Book Culture.
Today’s election petition came just hours after a delegation of workers at the Park Slope store shared with management that a majority of workers had signed RWDSU authorization cards. 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 at the bookseller. While awaiting response from Barnes & Noble, workers formally filed their election petition with the NLRB. The company at any time can voluntarily recognize the union.
Workers at the store face continued safety issues amid the rebound of New York City post-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.
“I have been working at this store for over a year and I constantly see how our low wages affect me and my co-workers in what I can choose to afford each week whether it’s food, a MetroCard or time spent with friends. There is an unfair balance in how much I am working and how much we are getting paid. I want all of us to experience full-time benefits like health insurance if we work full-time hours. For these reasons, we are coming together to create a better way to work at this place that we love,” said Haruka Iwasaki (She/Her), 28, Senior Bookseller, Park Slope Barnes & Noble.
In conjunction with today’s filing, workers have also launched new national social media accounts where information about the current public campaigns can be found as well as new announcements. Individual campaigns will continue to maintain social media handles, but in an effort to create a place to share information across all of the efforts, the public can follow @BNWorkers on Twitter and @BarnesandNobleUnion on Instagram as well.
When successful, the RWDSU will represent over 30 NLRA eligible workers at the Park Slope, Brooklyn store; they would join the over 100 current NLRA eligible workers at the Flagship store in New York when they’re successful as well. The RWDSU currently represents nearly 70 workers at Barnes & Noble College Booksellers at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The workers in the proposed bargaining units include Booksellers, Baristas, Cashiers, Maintenance, and all non-supervisory employees at each of the stores.
Barnes & Noble and Barnes & Noble College Booksellers are separate companies. Barnes & Noble is a privately held company headquartered in New York City. Barnes & Noble Education is publicly traded under BNED on the NYSE and is headquartered in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.
Short of voluntary recognition, and pending the parties’ ability to come to a stipulated agreement swiftly, the NLRB could set this election for as early as next month. More information about an election date and procedure will be available via the NLRB.
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The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) represents 100,000 members throughout the United States, including 45,000 in New York State. The RWDSU is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). For more information, please visit our website at www.rwdsu.org, Facebook:/RWDSU.UFCW Twitter:@RWDSU.