Book Culture Rehires Four Fired Staff Members
Book Culture, which has two stores on the Upper West Side in New York City, has hired back four of the five staff members it fired two weeks ago after employees voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, the Columbia Spectator reported. A fifth fired employee has decided to take a severance package.
Book Culture said that four of the five employees were members of management and shouldn't have voted in the election. Employees and union officials said that the five were managers in name only.
"We have re-hired all four store managers who were terminated last week. There is no longer a labor dispute. Book Culture has now recognized the RWDSU as the union representing our employees. 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 book store and to support the unionized employees who depend on your patronage of the two stores. Sincerely, Chris, Annie, and the Book Culture Team."
"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, told the Columbia Spectator on Friday. "We still have to negotiate over a full contract."
Andrews added that in the contract negotiations, the union wants to address employee concerns about low starting wages, disciplinary appeals and unclear job descriptions.