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Barnes & Noble Workers in California Join Local 5

December 7, 2023

On Nov. 8, workers at the Barnes & Noble store at the Almaden Plaza Shopping Center in San Jose, Calif., voted by a 90 percent margin in favor of union representation by UFCW Local 5.

The government-conducted election culminated a months-long campaign where workers overcame strong company opposition to join the growing number of unionized Barnes & Noble locations that include New York CityBrooklyn, N.Y.; Hadley, Mass.; and Rutgers, N.J.

Issues that spurred the campaign included low and stagnant wages, inadequate health benefits, and a failure of management to address health and safety concerns at the workplace.

 “I voted for the union because I want us all to have fair wages and good benefits and to feel safe at work,” said Sabrina Maupas, one of the store’s café employees.

“I voted ‘yes’ because workers need to have rights, especially when things have shifted in a way that only the people at the top have the power while workers, acting on their own, have no power,” said Marisa Olson, who also works at the store.

“We are seeing a bigger movement in retail organizing at companies that have always prided themselves as being ‘progressive,’” said UFCW Local 5 organizer Freddi Farias. “Workers are beginning to see through the façade and hold companies accountable to the values that they claim to have.”

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