The IWW Campaign at Borders Inc.
The booksellers at Borders Bookshop in Center City Philadelphia waged a struggle in the spring of 1996 for union representation with the Industrial Workers of the World. After the company hired a notorious union-busting law firm and browbeat its employees for a month (sometimes in ways that blatantly violated Federal labor laws) the union was narrowly defeated (20-25) in a vote on March 27, 1996.
Miriam Fried worked at Borders for about one year before she was wrongfully fired by General Manager Dave Stewart on June 15th. During her employment she was twice given excellent evaluations. Stewart himself wrote on March 7 that "she provides a fine model for other booksellers with her work ethic and her book knowledge." She was never written up or given warnings about anything. She was fired for discussing how certain cash register policies were never followed by staff or managers and how inconsistent management responses had frustrated her and her co-workers. Three days after terminating Miriam, management changed the cash register policy, exactly according to her recommendations.
In a nation-wide, grassroots effort to compel Borders Inc. to give up its union-busting practices, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) has called for a boycott of all Borders, Waldenbooks and Planet Records (all owned in common) stores.
The IWW Responds
- April 1996 - Background on the Campaign, including the Phildephia protest leaflet, support for Miriam Fried posted by a coworker, a letter from a Disgruntled Borders Employee, and support from Noam Chomsky.
- August 16, 1996 - New York IWW Boycott Borders Leaflet.
- Fall 1996 - Update from Miriam Fried.
- October 1997 - Borders Boycott Not Over, New York Solidarity.
Pickets at Borders
- IWW Informational Pickets at Borders 1996-98.
- More IWW Informational Pickets at Borders 1996-98.
- IWW Protest Outside Borders in Melbourne.
Borders Union Busting
- September 1996 - Union Busting Manual for Borders Managers, obtained by intrepid IWW members. What the enemy thinks about unions!
- April 8, 1998 - Shelving the Unions, Mother Jones.
- February 12, 1996 - Banned by Borders, by Micheal Moore, star of the movie Roger and Me and the cable news show The Ugly Trusth.
- UFCW Abandons Borders Drive.
Support for the Union
- December 4, 1996 - Philadelphia City Council Resolution
Articles about Borders and Unions
- March 2, 1996 - Borders Belabored, The Nation.
- January 29, 1999 - Anti-Union bookshop comes to Glasgow, Scottish Socialist Voice.
- March 12, 1999 - Hippy Capitalism, By David Turner