News | Morningside Heights

Book Culture rehires four managers after union dispute

  • Sarah Kerson for Spectator
    BOOKSTORE BLUES | 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.

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.

samantha.cooney@columbiaspectator.com  |  @sammcooney

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Anonymous posted on

As a former employee I know of several people who have been fired for ridiculous reasons, including being "let go" after a vote on the union in 2012. The employees voted in favor of the union and before you know it several were "let go."

I am so glad to see this is happening. Doeblin has gotten away with doing whatever he wants with the employees that make his business run.

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Anonymous posted on

I work at a private ESL school (company). The teachers are unionized. Since unionization, it has become the most profitable in the country. In other words, more democracy is not an evil.

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Anonymous posted on

Yes, because unions raise the price and cost of everything for everybody else. The increase in wages, benefits, and union dues will now be passed onto the consumer.

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An unempathetic sympathizer posted on

I don't know about you but I'm willing to pay so that someone can make a reasonable wage with benefits and live comfortably. But I guess that's all too much to ask, got to get mine first right?

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Anonymous posted on

union thugs

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Rando posted on

Yay! I can go to Book Culture again!

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Harvard Basketball Wins Through Lower Academic Standards posted on

I hope the newly unionized employees realize that the economic future of independent bookstores in general is as bleak as any industry out there.

It might feel good to unionize to stick it to "The Man," but that's a pretty weak victim they're trying to beat up. They may just beat themselves out of a job -- permanently.

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Anonymous posted on

The Washington Post ran an article a while back re an ongoing argument between NYPD and the FBI... There isn't any shortage of sting opportunities, given the unending string of lawbreaking in the intelligence community, including their vast corrupt network in Los Angeles and Ventura, stretching into many businesses here, and obviously involving some government employees. I defended a Tax Suit a while back by noting that the entertainment industry had stolen dozens of phrases and ideas from my copyrighted work--many poem titles and lines, and other creative expressions converted directly to film titles. The list of intellectual property violations numbers in the hundreds or thousands, including naming the following from my poems, without my consent or prior knowledge: Vantage Point (2007), Idiocracy (2006), The Aura (Spanish: El Aura) (2005), Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus, Sky High (2005 film), The Perfect Score (2004); The Score, Wake of Death (2004), Torque (2004), You Wish! (2003), (2003), Big Fish ( 2003), The Ring (2002 ), I Am Sam (2001), The Sixth Sense(1999), Beowulf (2007), Gryphon (2007), Stomp the Yard (2007), Made of Honor (2008) Felon (2008), Box Elder (2008) and Fata Morgana (2007) Avatar (2008/2009) Daybreak (2008) Vantage Point (2008). All these words and titles come from Plaintiff’s copyrighted work Tribute Anthology (2007), unmarketed, meaning the information was actually taken directly from my computer or discs. I've filed several federal suits, one of which was in litigation for a decade before the community--through extensive battery and fraud--made false accusations and created new issues to prevent a just public condemnation of the community for eviscerating my rights over the course of decades. The worst liars, and the worst of these criminals--they are actually violating criminal codes daily--are on the right. A good thing to note when you're dealing with the manipulative self-impressed chess player sociopaths in the right wing intelligentsia, never accept the explanation they give you, always go back a step or two in time, and dig a little deeper. They're invariably lying.
The FBI would be quite content to use a citizen as bait in FBI stings over the course of a lifetime. There isn't any shortage of sting opportunities, given the unending string of lawbreaking in the intelligence community, including their vast corrupt network in Los Angeles and Ventura, stretching into many businesses here, and obviously involving some government employees.These parties are all violating RICO , careful lies they believe are legally protected, with an obvious motive to attack an informant. Examine my federal cases, Central District of California Case Numbers, 01-4340, 03-9097, 08-5515, , 10-5193, US Tax Court 12000-07L --though I think you want to view my US Tax Court Appeal to the 9th Circuit for a good account of the day to day assaults, over the course of years.
The intelligence community has framed me and given fraudulent psych profiles to the judiciary over the course of decades 2) the entertainment industry knew it, and quietly reaped the benefits of my creativity, fraudulently sold by the government (something like restitution or illegally seized property), and in fact colluded with the federal government, RICO 3) government and industry have killed my pets and physically attacked me for a decade in an effort to slow my investigation, and to intimidate, RICO II violation 4) government inspectors and FBI--those who were not complicitous, anyway-- have ruthlessly used me in stings against the community and industry, in many cases ensuring i would be harmed by putting me in harm's way against known, repeat offenders--often, I believe, as their own retaliation against me, RICO III 5) all of the above have curtailed my other options and interfered with my relationships in an effort to further their own schemes 6) i've lost a vast amount of intellectual property. my closest relationships, including a few engagements, were destroyed by the manipulations of the above individuals. i haven't been truly free a day in my entire adult life, either manipulation of my options or direct interference with my cognition, usually both..7) some in the judiciary knew, and some should have known, that the allegations against me were contrived and fraudulent, and some have participated in harming me 8) while there is little political support for prosecuting criminal actions that involve half of government, two presidents, Obama and to an extent Clinton, tried to do what is right, right a very corrupt situation. you don't need to be a genius to figure the politics involved, the problems they've faced so doing.9) you probably won't get a denial of any of this if you ask US Senators, and can in fact find letters of support from them as exhibits in my case filings. 10) yet the press has not covered this because? 11) the right has been physically attacking me or harming my pets in connection with every public criticism i've made. These parties are all engaged in RICO conduct, careful lies they believe are legally protected, with an obvious motive to attack an informant. Examine my federal cases, Central District of California Case Numbers, 01-4340, 03-9097, 08-5515, , 10-5193, US Tax Court 12000-07L --though I think you want to view my US Tax Court Appeal to the 9th Circuit for a good account of the day to day assaults, over the course of years. Those in government who support this sort of llegal persecution are invariably lying. Invariably--and that's from someone who spent a decade documenting four decades of lies.

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