Updated, 7/5, 11:55 a.m.
Book Culture has rehired four store managers who were terminated after last week's vote to unionize, store owners Chris Doeblin and Annie Hedrick announced on Thursday.
The four managers said they were illegally fired after they participated in votes to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Doeblin told Spectator last week that the four employees were not eligible to vote because they were managers.
“We have re-hired all four store managers who were terminated last week. There is no longer a labor dispute,” Doeblin and Hedrick said in the email to customers. “Book Culture has now recognized the RWDSU as the union representing our employees.”
A fifth employee—Casey McNamara, a union organizer—was also fired after Doeblin said he found her eavesdropping on his conversation with another manager. The email from Doeblin and Hedrick did not say that the fifth employee had been rehired.
A union representative told Spectator on Thursday that McNamara agreed to take a severance package from the company and that both sides dropped their claims against each other.
“The resolution of the settlement means pretty much all charges against both parties are dropped,” Phil Andrews, director of the RWDSU's Retail Organizing Project, said on Friday. “We still have to negotiate over a full contract.”
Andrews added that the eventual contract will aim to address longer-standing concerns by the employees, such as low starting wages, disciplinary appeals, and unclear job descriptions.
Since the employees were fired, RWDSU union representatives and former and current Book Culture workers picketed outside the store's two locations on 112th Street and 114th Street asking passersby to boycott the store.
“We are respectful of the rights of our employees to unionize and of the views of our customers in the community and the university. As we have gotten to know the RWDSU this past week, we believe that we and the RWDSU are well aligned in urging all customers to shop at Book Culture to support your local independent bookstore and to support the unionized employees who depend on your patronage of the two stores,” part of the email said.
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