San Jose Barnes and Noble Workers Vote to Join Local 5

Workers at the Almaden Plaza Shopping Center Barnes and Noble store in San Jose have 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 and Noble locations that include New York City, Brooklyn, Hadley, Massachusetts, and Rutgers, New Jersey.

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.

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

Marisa Olson gave a broader perspective on the importance of the union vote saying, “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.”

The successful campaigns at Barnes and Noble stores are part of a recent trend of UFCW victories across the country including wins at REI and Trader Joe’s and ongoing drives at other retailers.

“We are seeing a bigger movement in retail organizing at companies that have always prided themselves as being ‘progressive’, says 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.”