Recently it was reported that book store workers in New York had been fired as a direct result of their trade union activism. The employees of Book Culture had voted in favour of union representation (they backed the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union) and promptly received the following response:
“It was indicated to me … that two people in our management group voted in the union and effectively undermined the interests of the store. The store always being in opposition to the Union,” the email read. “Unfortunately there is no other recourse but to remove these people from our employ effective immediately. Therefor [sic] Bec and Kerry have been fired.”
“I was surprised when I saw it in writing,” said Goodbourn, 30, a native of Australia who recently moved to the U.S.
Henderson received a personal email from Doeblin.
“I regret to inform you that we cannot continue to employ you,” he wrote. “All management has to work together in the best interests of the store and clearly unionization is at odds with that.”
Following a strike – and some negative publicity – the bookstore backtracked sharply:
“We have re-hired all four store managers who were terminated last week,” the Book Culture statement read. “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 [nearby Columbia University].”
Union blacklisting has of course been a toxic problem in the UK’s construction industry and last year eight companies involved in the scandal set up The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) in order to compensate the victims. However the GMB maintains that the proposed payments are paltry given the scale of the injustice, and talks between the union and the construction companies’ lawyers have broken down.