BookPeople Employees Vote for OPEIU Local 277 Representation
Austin, Texas (Nov. 14, 2018) – Employees at Texas’s largest independent bookstore, BookPeople, have voted for representation by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 277.
The group of 80 booksellers, event staff and inventory managers at the Austin bookstore are devoted to creating a thriving business for their community. They sought to unionize to ensure that includes a dignified living and voice in the workplace for all BookPeople employees.
“BookPeople has been part of my life since 1998,” said employee Staci Gray. “It is a magical place that has provided me with so many amazing people who are a part of my family. I want BookPeople to thrive so that these wonderful people can also make a living wage.”
The campaign received support from the Texas AFL-CIO, affiliate unions and the Austin community. “We want to recognize OPEIU Local 277 for their commitment to organizing the unorganized in an innovative way, and for recognizing that investing in Texas workers is the best way to grow our movement and change our state,” said Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy.
“These brave employees stood up for themselves, their families and our whole community today by joining OPEIU Local 277,” said Greg Casar, Austin City Council, District 4 member. “The BookPeople staff are protecting the values we love in Austin: fairness, creativity and opportunity.”
OPEIU Local 277 will now begin the process of negotiating a first contract for these new members. “We are so excited to get this win,” said Patrick Watson, a BookPeople inventory manager. “BookPeople workers were organizing months before we contacted OPEIU, and to see our efforts finally lead to representation is exhilarating. Now we're ready to go into negotiations with the same energy and passion we've had from the beginning!”