Unions Battle ‘Extremely Progressive’ Book Store Owner
A liberal New York bookstore owner continues to battle a union over his business, with talks expected to resume this week.
Book Culture owner Chris Doeblin fired several employees who were advocating joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), prompting organized protests against the store. Doeblin claimed that the fired employees were managers who were ineligible to vote on union organizing.
The protests appeared successful when he allowed the terminated employees to come back to work last week.
“We were able to get the workers back to work,” explains Janna Pea, the deputy director of communications at RWDSU, to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Pea states that the employees were “terminated hours after voting” but that the union was “able to talk with the owner Chris” and resolve that problem.
“Our number one goal is to represent the workers,” explains Pea. “We’re looking forward to working with all parties involved.”
Many of the employees attend Columbia University, leading to complaints about scheduling work around their classes. Pea also accuses the owner of making racially charged and “disrespectful” comments to the workers. Doeblin described himself to The New York Times as “an extremely progressive liberal and the best kind.”
Doeblin complained to TheDCNF about the unions’ behavior. “We haven’t started the negotiations for a new contract,” he said. “The issues addressed by the picketing, cyber bullies and defamation, not to mention the big plastic rats were the firings which the union viewed as illegal and unfair.”
When asked if there were any demands from which he would not budge, Doeblin replied, “Sure, there are lots of them. One thing is that we hold the right to expect our managers’ loyalty to the business and that our managers take their directives from us and carry them out.”
“We don’t have a way to handle these kind of protests,” he added. “We haven’t started negotiating and if they decide there are more protests and defamations in order to get their way at the bargaining table there is little we can do. I hope to continue on with quiet dignity and accept the challenge.”
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