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New York Bookstore Workers Ratify First Contract

April 21, 2022

RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102 members who work at three Greenlight Bookstore and Yours Truly stationery locations in Brooklyn, N.Y., unanimously ratified a first union contract on March 30 that strengthens wages and benefits. The 40 workers, who joined the RWDSU/UFCW in August of 2021, handle sales, stocking, and information services in the stores.

Union contract provisions include:

  • An increase in the minimum hiring rate
  • Annual wage increases amounting to 9 percent over three years
  • Paid time off
  • A gold health care plan for full-time workers, offering a lower deductible with more coverage than their previous plan
  • A new ancillary Care Plan providing both full-time and part-time workers with telecare, vision insurance, and dental insurance

“I am proud of all the work and consideration that we put into organizing our workplace and negotiating our first contract,” said Maritza Montañez, a Greenlight Bookstore worker and member of the bargaining committee. “And I’m excited that we are part of a wave of bookstore workers organizing across the country to improve their working conditions. Our organizing efforts began because we wanted to create a safer and more equitable workplace, especially for the many BIPOC employees hired as frontline booksellers during the pandemic. Our first contract does just that, increasing the base pay for new hires, scheduling annual wage increases, and providing health insurance options that will put money back in workers’ pockets.”

“When workers can count on the job security that only comes from a union contract, they can truly excel at their jobs,” said RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102 President Alvin Ramnarain. “The experienced book and stationery sellers at Greenlight and Yours Truly are committed to their customers and now people can shop there knowing they’re supporting good union jobs. The worker-led bargaining committee negotiated a strong first contract that will help them tremendously.”

“We are proud of these new RWDSU members who have negotiated and ratified a strong first contract,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “The provisions these workers have won in this contract will make working at Greenlight Bookstore sustainable for full-time and part-time workers alike. Brooklynites can shop at their neighborhood bookstore knowing that workers are well taken care of by union members. This contract proves yet again that working people are better off when they have a union.”