D.C.'s Politics and Prose Recognizes Employee Union
Politics and Prose, Washington, D.C., and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400, representing many P&P booksellers, have reached an agreement on the scope of a bargaining unit at the bookstore, and owners Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine have formally recognized the union as the collective bargaining agent. In a joint announcement, P&P and the union said both parties are "committed to working together collegially and constructively to negotiate a contract for unionized employees and ensuring that Politics and Prose continues to play a vital role in our community."
Graham and Muscatine added: "As stewards of a local, independent business with a 37-year legacy of progressive management and mission, we've valued collaborating with employees to solve problems and address needs, and we look forward to working with the union in the same spirit."
The P&P organizing committee said, "We are proud to join the growing movement of booksellers and baristas across the country who have unionized their workplaces. Forming our union has not only served as an affirmation of our shared values within the Politics and Prose community, it will also strengthen our workplace and ensure the long-term success of our beloved community hub. We look forward to negotiating our first contract and welcoming more bookstore workers in D.C. and beyond into our union family."
The unionization effort became public last December when union organizers presented what they said were authorization cards signed by a majority of staff members and wanted voluntarily recognition by the owners. Graham and Muscatine declined to do so, in part because they disagreed on which employees were eligible for the union. They called for a vote overseen by the National Labor Relations Board, which would have taken place soon. But after engaging Kathy Krieger, a lawyer with a labor background, they worked with the union to agree that some 54 employees out of P&P's staff of 100 would constitute the bargaining unit and that a majority of those employees had signed union authorization cards.
Politics and Prose has three stores in the capital. Co-owner Bradley Graham is president of the American Booksellers Association.