WEBSITE MENU - Help keep the Picket Lines STRONG! Sign up here or show up



Introducing UnionWiki.org — a place to start organizing labor, online!

Labels: , ,


Adventure at the DIA Tuesday, December 2nd 

Borders workers hope CEO Greg J enjoyed his holiday reception and award from the Kellogg School of Business Alumni Club at the Detroit Institute of Arts. We had a welcoming party outside waving picket signs and trying to hand out fliers. Not many of the guests seemed to appreciate our hospitality. Few guests took our fliers and many went well out of their way to avoid us. That was okay with us because we knew that friends of ours were inside distributing mock brochures that appeared to be invitations to the reception but were in fact discussions of Borders union busting. Guests gratefully received them as they went in from a greeter who they took to be the real thing, sometimes making snide comments about the picketers outside. Overall we were surprised at the turnout as only thirty or so came to Greg’s reception. We hope Greg wasn’t disappointed.


We've moved the website. 

We've moved the website. Our new site is located at http://bordersreadersunited.a2wc.org/. Please update your bookmarks. If you were pulling our RSS feed, that has changed too. The new site has a few feeds, read the rss feed page for more details. Thanks to another wonderful supporter!


Give Thanks...Stand Tall 

It occurs to me that some of you out there (and you know who you are) may panic at the idea of living without a steady paycheck (read more)


Buy Nothing Day! 

This Friday is AdBusters' official Buy Nothing Day (http://adbusters.org/campaigns/bnd/). This year, there's no better place to buy nothing than in front of Borders! Join the picket line Friday and Saturday in Ann Arbor or leaflet at a Borders near you.


Learn the truth about Borders' spin 

An update on negotiations: The union offered Borders three dates in November for negotiation, which Borders refused. The earliest date that Borders offered was December 1st, which the union accepted. HOWEVER, Borders corporate has said that they are still not willing to negotiate on the actual CONTRACT. (They are only willing to negotiate on minor work rules which they are seeking to implement outside of a binding contract.) The claim by Anne Roman that "We remain open to negotiating at any time with the union and would love to resolve this quickly" is obviously not borne out by their actions and communications with the union. Please continue to put pressure on Borders Inc. to negotiate a fair contract with the union NOW! Click here to see what you can do, including writing letters to the editors of local papers demanding that Borders' actions conform to the messages they are putting out to the public.


Let's Get This Straight: They're What? 

This is from a supporter: "Thought you might be interested to read the response I got from customer care just now, which states that you have not contacted them to negotiate. Hmmmm..... They think they're waiting for you and you're waiting for them. Quite the quandary. Worry not, I won't be shopping there until you stop picketing!" Letter from corporate Binc Three quick points on the latest corporate spin: (1) Borders is waiting for us to ask them to negotiate? But the Union contacted them a week ago offering various negotiating times. Anyway, let's try again. Is this clear enough:


(2) Borders' last proposal to the Union eliminated both the merchandise credit and the 33% employee discount. How they lie to their customers! (3) Don't get fooled by their numbers. The average wage at Store 01 reflects the fact that several very long-time employees (like Hal Brannan who has worked there 18 years and is now on strike) are at the top of the pay scale. These employees inflate the average. More revealing is the fact that two of our striking workers who have worked at the store over 2 and 3 years respectively both make less than $8 per hour. (Names of employees withheld to avoid management recrimination; after all, if they can fire someone for eating a bagel...).

The Truth About Border is Spreading 

Sign the petition, we are at 1486 signatures from all over the country and some across the world. We have had nearly 4100 visitors to this website! Keep spreading the message of Borders Unfair Labor Practices! Boycott Borders, Waldenbooks and Amazon.com!


Day 10 & Still Waiting: Borders Ready to Negotiate? 

On Monday (11/10/03) Borders spokeswoman Anne Roman was quoted in the Daily saying, "We remain open to negotiating at any time with the union and would love to resolve this quickly." On Tuesday (11/11) the Union contacted Borders offering various times open for negotiation.

Borders silent for 144 hours

E-mail Borders at ccare@bordersstores.com and call them at 1-800-477-1100 and tell them to back up their words with action.

From an email sent to us! 

Hey there! Although I don't know much about your struggle, and am not always pro-union, I AM an ex-Borders employee (including being a Human Resources Assistant Manager at an A-level store), and thought you could use these: In 1994, the starting wage at Borders was $6.10 an hour. In 2000, when I left, it was $6.50 an hour. And it STILL is $6.50. An increase of only 6 1/2% in over NINE YEARS. Compare that to inflation, and regardless of the "industry comparisons", they are NOT paying a living wage. More of the email

Picketing HELP! (esp. during bad weather) 

We need extra help during certain hours when street traffic is heavy. Please make a point to help out at these times. 1. If you see it raining, COME ON DOWN! When the weather is bad, especially after 8PM, street traffic is still heavy. Even an hour of picketing during bad weather helps, and allows workers a chance to get dry and attend to other things. 2. Every night after 8PM, just an hour of your time makes a HUGE difference! 3. Early mornings until noon. Workers could use the time to regroup and get other tasks done at the start of the day. We could also us any morale support you can give us. A moment to stop by with hot drinks, dry towels, a song, a toot on the car horn, anything you can think of. Try to remember this...if its raining WE NEED YOUR HELP!


New chants and songs! 

How do you know that girl is fine? She won't cross a picket line. How do you know that guy is cool? He's no picket-crossing fool. What did my mama teach me? Never cross a picket line. And what do we say to Borders? Borders, it is contract time! Click here for more chants and new songs from the Raging Grannies Without Borders! Don't miss fabulous new lyrics by Brian (everything from Outkast to the Beatles!).


Michigan Daily op/ed 

Viewpoint: An open letter to Borders President Tami Heim By Irfan Nooruddin November 14, 2003

One Listing of Strikes Nationally 

Take a look at this page to see other strikes currently active across the country and consider lending support to these other workers on the lines against their employers.


Michigan Daily op/eds 

Holding firm: Continued support required in Borders strike By The Michigan Daily Viewpoint: Borders not the responsible company it used to be By Charlie Murphy

Chomsky Letter to Borders 

In 2002 Noam Chomsky and 27 other authors and scholars wrote to Borders CEO Greg Josefowicz to protest the company's practice of category management, which Chomsky and others view as a threat to the free exchange of ideas Borders Inc claims to value. You can read the letter here.

An Open Letter to U-M President Coleman 

Dear President Coleman: The Michigan Daily reported on November 10, 2003 that your football team’s coach, Mr. Lloyd Carr, intentionally crossed a picket line put up by striking workers at the main Ann Arbor Borders store. Do you know if this is true? Read more.

Response to Harlan's Apology 

Dear Ms. Harlan: I am not a Border's worker, just a supporter (seems the least I can do, when people have the courage to put their livelihoods on the line). Your apology shows a lot of personal integrity, and also a lot of class, and I thank you very much for it. It would have been easy for you to ignore the issue. Congratulations for doing the right thing, and again, thank you. Sincerely, Mark B. Naess Grosse Pointe, MI P.S.--I have often wondered why 60 Minutes doesn't do a piece on what it takes to organize a union in this country--and why our laws provide so little protection to workers trying to exercise these rights. I think your viewers would be shocked (and appalled), at what an undercover look by Channel 4 could find. Go to past posts

Carman Harlan's Apology 

Dear Borders Employees: I am offering my apologies to you for crossing your picket line on Saturday, November 8, 2003. I inadvertently offended protesting workers without thinking through my decision to enter the store on that day. Hopefully the outcome of the strike will benefit you and it is a well learned lesson to myself. Carmen Harlan Senior Anchor WDIV-TV

Conduct During Picketing 

I'm placing some excerpts from the Ann Arbor Municipal Code on the website in the hopes that we can discuss what is and is not proper and legal conduct on the picket line. In the relatively small number of hours I've been picketing in solidarity, the conduct I've seen has been mostly excellent (if understandably boisterous). But picketers have been getting almost randomly changing sets of instructions from Borders security guards and individual police officers; it would be helpful to have a better sense of what and what not to do on the line.


Mobloggin'--new BRU Mobile Blog! 

Props to textamerica for hosting the new Borders Readers United Mobile Blog! Check it out at: http://borders.textamerica.com To post images to the page, just send an email to borders.readers@tamw.com with the image as an attachment. Type the title text as the subject and type a description in the body of the message. Textamerica is the latest of our online supporters.

Retail is the new blue-collar 

via Brian Kerr: "...(R)etail is the new blue-collar... You see, (ideally) a couple of successes at Borders could set off a resonance cascade of organization and somewhat humane contracts spanning from McDonald’s to Wal-Mart"


Hello again Ms Heim 

Dear Ms Heim, I trust you had a nice Veteran's Day off. I was a bit disappointed that we haven't been able to continue our free exchange of ideas about the shoddy way you treat your employees. But I realize being management has its prerogatives, one of which is surely the ability to take Veteran's Day off even if workers around the country are busy earning your profits today. That and the fact that you and your PR crew have probably been busy spreading misinformation about your compensation and indulging in shameless spin ("we don't pay any of our workers well so why should we pay the Liberty St workers well; after all, that would be so unfair.") Click here for more

Exchange with Borders President Tami Heim 

Dear Ms Heim: I appreciate your prompt response. You don't seem to have understood my previous e-mail. As a professional academic trained in political economy I recognize your claims about competitive pressures. As an intelligent person, I also recognize that your equation of "competitive wages" with "fair wages" is specious and outrageous. Click here for the full exchange!


With a little help from a friend. 

If you can help, donate to the Borders Workers Hardship Fund
In Solidarity, Borders Readers United with Borders Workers Union

Police tied up at Borders, while Einsteins is robbed 

While Borders has called the police over 21 times in two days for various contentions with the non-violent strikers, Einstein Bagels around the corner was being robbed at 7pm on Sunday night!

Throw out your EGC's! 

This customer was stuck in traffic hearing our protest outside of Borders. He showered me with Borders electronic gift cards and said he would never cross a picket line and supported the strikers! Yeah for Ann Arbor and the support we are getting every day!

"Borders Workers Strike for Better Wages, Benefits"--Daily article 

Kristin Ostby of the Michigan Daily wrote a great article on the first days of the strike.


Workers Call Strike for this Saturday, 11.08.03 

From the Organizing Committee: Workers at Borders Books store #1 in Ann Arbor, MI will go on strike this Saturday, November 8 at 9:00 AM. We do not take this step lightly. By striking, we hope to convince Borders Management to negotiate with us in good faith so we can reach a fair contract and return to our jobs. We are writing to ask you to continue to support us by 1) boycotting all Borders, Waldenbooks, and Amazon.com; 2) volunteering to picket with workers in front of the store; 3) joining Borders Readers United, our community support coalition (bru@riseup.net) 4) calling Borders Headquarters (734-477-1100) to tell them you support us; 5) coming to our Strike Fund Concert at the Ark in Ann Arbor on 11/10/03; 6) signing an online petition 7) forwarding this message to all your friends and colleagues! In Solidarity and thanks, Borders Workers Union Organizing Committee More detailed information follows: *************************** Long-term Borders employee Hal Brannan says this: After working at Borders for 18 years and trying to negotiate for nearly a year, now I must take a drastic step. At Store # 1, my coworkers and I have been hoping for a reasonable contract offer, but all we were offered was the employee handbook with the added risk of losing some things. We were hoping Borders would settle our claims of Unfair Labor Practices and turn over a new leaf; but Borders has seen fit to settle with the NLRB while continuing to intimidate and harass us. We see a strike as the last option we have to get Borders to adopt a new attitude. We need you to come to our picket line to show your support.


Outrageous!! Carmen Harlan from Channel 4 crossed our picket line with her family. Who knows, maybe she is doing a story. We can forgive a journalist a little leeway in pursuit of a story... You can drop Carmen a line at carmenh@clickondetroit.com to let her know how you feel.

Burger King Workers Support!! 

Burger King Workers Support!! BRU member, Michele M, went to Burger King looking for plastic buckets to use as drums on the picket line. When the workers asked what was going on, Michele told them about the Borders strike, i.e. the union-busting, low pay etc. The Burger King workers were shocked to find out the starting salary and exclaimed that they make more even though they didn't go to high school. They pledged their support and urged us to "BANG ON THOSE DRUMS!!" Thank you to Miss K and the other workers for the buckets and the encouraging words.

Photos from today's picket! (11-8-03) 

I put up an album. Enter the email login: bordersreadersunited@listserver.gpcc.itd.umich.edu to RITX PIX and Solidarity, Leslie P.S. great work out there today!! See you soon!


A Concise History of Union Busting at Borders 

A Concise History of Union Busting at Borders

Ready to STRIKE! 

Ready to STRIKE!

Worker Testimonial: Dale 

April 1, 2003 To whom it may concern, Recently the management at Borders Store #1 in Ann Arbor Michigan has altered their employee bag check policy. Previously, while the policy was officially in place it was not enforced and for the most part employees were able to leave the store without much concern about being stopped for a check unless there was a reason to suspect something wrong. But recently store management has been using extreme measures to enforce the policy. Some of the changes made to the policy involve things like limiting the number of items employees can bring in from outside the store. According to store policy everything an employee brings in to the store must have a personal property sticker placed on the item by a manager or supervisor. Because of the time involved in filling out the stickers employees are limited to 5 personal items per day that they can bring in, including items the store carries, any item that could be special ordered (including used books since the store now orders used and out of print books), and items similar to things the store carries, even if they’re a different brand from what the store carries. Along with the personal identification stickers being placed on personal items, employees must open CD cases in order to show that the CD in the case is the one shown on the cover. When leaving the store for any reason (either at the end of the day or for lunch) employees must submit to a bag check by a manager or supervisor after punching out. If a manager or supervisor is not available the employee must page for one and wait to have their bag checked in view of the front door before leaving. Since authorized bag checkers are not always available the employee must wait for one to become available and can’t leave until their bag is checked, and if they do leave they can face disciplinary action. At least on employee pointed out that waiting for an available manager to check his bag could make him late for his bus and he was told that if time was a problem then he cut his lunch short in order to make sure that he had time for his bag check a the end of the day. When an employee’s bag is being checked the manager or supervisor doing the check is not allowed to open any of the pockets or reach into the bag themselves but employees must open all sections of the bag and remove anything the checker wants to get a closer look at. At this time the personal property stickers that were placed on the employee’s personal items are removed so they can not be reused and the employee is allowed to leave the store. We realize that other employers and even other Borders stores have policies that go even further than the one currently being enforced at our store but this letter is being used to point out how the policy is currently being used at Borders Store #1. We realize that Borders has the right to check their employees’ bags, but we feel that the way that the bag check policy is currently being enforced is insulting, degrading, and an invasion of privacy. Since the store management has said that the bag checks are a corporate policy and they have no control over them we, the undersigned employees of Borders Store #1 in Ann Arbor Michigan are asking the corporate office to reconsider the methods they are currently using for bag checks and find something more reasonable that would reduce the friction between employees and management.

Worker Testimonial 

Gayle Stuhrberg - 6.5 years "Once upon a time, I so enjoyed working at Borders, that I hardly noticed the pathetic compensation here. But you know, when managment sets about creating a hostile work environment, when I don't have the same job satisfaction, its pretty hard to continue subsidising Borders. And that is exactly what we're doing when we receive less than a living wage. That difference is a subsidy that retail, IT and service workers across the country provide to feed the voracious appetite of Corporate America. Borders, when you take away the intangibles that have kept me at Borders for over 6.5 years, you are going to provide me better compensation. Leave your footprints at the door and not on the backs of your frontline workers."

Worker Testimonial 

Dustin Kratovich - 1.5 years - Multimedia seller Store #1 "I'm hoping that I am not here because it's my personal problem, nor because I am so naive to believe that Binc will become a good company that respects its employees when this is said and done. No, I'm here because giant corporations don't respect their "lackeys," and it's sick. Unions are a step in the right direction. The people must organize if any change is to be implemented. Corporations control everything and unions provide a step towards giving control of the world back to the common man."

Ex-Worker Testimonial 

Blair Sanderson - Borders Alumni 17rs, out 1year Blair SHOUTS OUT "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Union Busting has got to go" "The Workers - United - will never be defeated" "What do we want? CONTRACT! - When do we want it? NOW!"
Workers out on the picket line Heidi Adonia and Allison

Support in Texas 

Hi there, Joshua Freeze from the IWW in Austin TX here. We're planning a picket to support you and wanted to get a little information. Solidarity, Joshua

Worker Testimonial 

Laura, worker since Why am I on strike? I can think of a confluence of experiences in my working life and Borders working life which have brought me to the picket line. First, I believe in a living wage. As a former Borders manager, I know all about the financials, and frankly I see a lot of false economy in paying people a $6.50/hour base pay. We've lost amazing booksellers to Wendy's and Target in the past year and a half, because the pay was better. More from Laura

Worker Testimonial 

Allison N. worker since 1998 "I am involved in this union drive because I believe it is the only way to give power back to the workers. Borders has been incredibly difficult and unwilling to negotiate or bargain in good faith since we voted 51-4 to form a union. I am willing to do whatever I legally can to support my co-workers and the rights of workers here and elsewhere. Change must begin somewhere, this is as good a place as any."

Worker Testimonial 

Dave Patt, worker since 1998 "I am doing this for myself and for my coworkers. The right to form unions is a fundamental right necessary for the welfare of workers. Borders has shown again and again how little respect they have for this right and for their workers who are exercising it."

Strike Supporters on the line! 

Ron Lare who is from UAW Local 600 - the Rouge Plant was here to support the strike! Kim Hunter, all the way from Detroit! Other news, we stopped a supply truck for the cafe from stopping and unloading its cargo!! Yea. (this is on top of the fact that the UPS driver refuses to cross the line!)

Support from great places! 

Emerson School cancelled a special buying night for the 2nd time!!! This event has brought in $40,000 in a three hour period. Yea!! The mail carrier refused to cross the picketline at made management come out to pick up the mail! Yea to their UNION!

Boycott Amazon!! 

Hey everybody. love the blog and support you 100%. We pulled our Amazon.com affiliate links from our B-Movie pageand replaced them with a link to the Borders Union info page. Keep fighting the good fight! We're with ya! Brady Carlson - LivingIndefinately.com Thanks Brady! Added you to the list of online supporters


Adonia Arteaga – worked at Borders since July 1999 "From the time we started organizing, over a year ago, Borders has continually harassed and intimidated us as a union. They have refused to bargain during our negotiation meetings. They have continued to cut staff and increase our workload by making changes to our job duties and working conditions. It’s time for Borders Union to take a stand against corporate greed, not just for us but for all retail workers. We want a living wage, job security and affordable heath care. We want to maintain the integrity of Borders as an outstanding book, music, video and café retailer. The only way for that to happen is for Borders Inc. to respect its employees and give us a fair contract!"

No Thanks Borders! 

From across the street...

STRIKE Images 

Images from the strike 2:26 pm. STRIKE car! STRIKE dog! STRIKE line! STRIKE morality!

STRIKE #1 at STORE #1 

Here are some pictures - most from 9:15 am This will be a place for workers at the store to tell a quick story about what is happening all day. Trying to move live webloging (Heliblog, etc) to some good work. Like Vivos Voco did with the Immigrant Freedom Ride It is real loud out there, off I go! Radical Cheerleaders are coming!

Pictures from Pre-Strike Rally! 

Pictures from Pre-Strike Rally!


Worker Testimonial 

Long-term Borders employee Hal Brannan says this: "After working at Borders for 18 years and trying to negotiate for nearly a year, now I must take a drastic step. At Store # 1, my coworkers and I have been hoping for a reasonable contract offer, but all we were offered was the employee handbook with the added risk of losing some things. We were hoping Borders would settle our claims of Unfair Labor Practices and turn over a new leaf; but Borders has seen fit to settle with the NLRB while continuing to intimidate and harass us. We see a strike as the last option we have to get Borders to adopt a new attitude. We need you to come to our picket line to show your support."

Workers Testimonials, collected  

New office for Borders' Readers United and Borders' Workers Union 

Contact Information: Borders Readers United email: bru@riseup.net Tel: 734.995.9974 527 E. Liberty Suite 203, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 Mail checks made out to "Borders Workers" to: Borders Workers, PO Box 7383, Ann Arbor, MI 48107

Sign up to help with Picket Shifts 

Please add your name and contact information in the comments section below to sign up for picket shifts! The support is at times overwhelming. Solidarity! Borders Workers.

Borders Books Strike & Boycott 

(copy this to an email message and forward to others) From workers at Borders Books in Ann Arbor: Workers at Borders Books store #1 in Ann Arbor, MI are on strike as of Saturday, November 8, at 9:00 AM. We do not take this step lightly. By striking, we hope to convince Borders Management to negotiate with us in good faith so we can reach a fair contract and return to our jobs. We are writing to ask you to support us by 1) boycotting all Borders, Waldenbooks, and Amazon.com; 2) signing an online petition: http://BordersReadersUnited.2ya.com 3) calling Borders Headquarters (734-477-1100) to tell them you support us; 4) forwarding this message to all your friends and colleagues! 5) leafleting at a Borders near you (email us at bru@riseup.net and we'll find you help!) If you're near Ann Arbor, you can also support us by: 6) volunteering to picket with workers in front of the store! (9am-11pm M-Sa, 9am-9pm Sun) 7) joining Borders Readers United, our community support coalition (email bru@riseup.net for info) 8) writing letters to the editors of the Ann Arbor News and the Michigan Daily (email directly letters@michigandaily.com in support of the striking workers and asking why Borders won't negotiate in good faith In solidarity and thanks, Borders Workers Union Organizing Committee Complete information, updates, and pictures at: http://bordersreadersunited.blogspot.com/

The Fliers we are using, please download and circulate!  

National campaign: Flyer (PDF, 4MB) Letter from unionized Borders workers to non-unionized workers, to quietly give to Borders workers before you start leafletting (PDF) Local (Ann Arbor) flyers: Latest informational flyer (JPG) Previous flyer: Info side (PDF) Poster side (PDF) Pre-strike flyer: Info side (PDF) Poster side (PDF)



9.28.3 11.8.3 STRIKE Images 11.8.3 STRIKE #1 at STORE #1


Borders Home Office Lays Off 12; Ann Arbor Store to Strike 

Interesting article from daily Publisher's Weekly email...

People's Voice for Social Justice articles 

From People's Voice for Social Justice, Vol. 3, No. 10, November 2003 Borders' Struggle Part of Larger Movement --Borders Workers Union Organizing Committee It is probably old news to you that the Borders store on E. Liberty formed a union this past December with over 90% worker support vote and has been in stagnant contract negotiations with Borders Corporate ever since. Most recently, workers rejected Borders’ grossly inadequate proposal and authorized action up to and including a strike. Click here for the full article. Borders Crossing the Line By Jim Mogensen In December of 2002, workers at the Borders Bookstore #1 in downtown Ann Arbor voted 51 to 4 in favor of forming a union. United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local No. 876 now represents the employees. Borders management and the workers have failed to reach a contract agreement and the employees have voted to authorize a strike. The union has filed charges of unfair labor practices against the company with the National Labor Relations Board. Click here for the full article.

Radical Cheerleader Cheers 


30) Acka backa: My back is achin My bra's too tight My booty's shakin From the left to the right Shout it out, revolution! Shout it out, support the union! Enough is enough We all must rise up Didn't eat today No place to stay So kiss the back o' my butt Uh! Kiss the back o' my butt Uh! Kiss the back o' my Kiss the back o' my Kiss the back o' my butt Uh! My acka backa, you’re a soda cracker your money your jobs Your institutions that never listen To the people's needs It's all about greed -- I Said Beep beep beep Take your voice to the street! 31) You Ugly U-G-L-Y Corporate scum you cheat you lie you ugly uh uh you ugly uh huh! G-R-E-E-D Corporation you don't fool me you greedy uh uh you greedy uh huh! E-V-I-L Money won't save you from hell you evil uh uh you evil uh huh! R-U-I-N Poverty wages have to end you ruin uh uh you ruin uh huh! Y-L-G-U You are ugly backwards too you ugly uh uh you ugly uh huh! F-R-E-E That is what we need to see our freedom uh uh our freedom uh huh! More Cheers!



Chants 1) I like books, not corporate crooks! 2) Books are for readers, not corporate bleeders! 3) We’re fired up – won’t take no more! 4) On strike, shut it down, Ann Arbor is a union town! 5) El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido! The workers, united, will never be defeated! 6) What do we want? Contract! When do we want it? Now! 7) Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho - Union busting’s got to go! 8) When I say union, you say power… Union! Power! When I say power, you say union… Power! Union! 9) They say cut back… We say fight back! (vary speed) 10) 1, 2, 3, 4 We know what we’re out here for! 5, 6, 7, 8 Borders, now negotiate! 2, 4, 6, 8 Come on now negotiate! 3, 5, 7, 9 Borders Books, it’s contract time! 11) No Work – No Peace No Justice - No Peace No Jobs - No Peace 12) Who’s got the power? We got the power. What kind of power? Union power!!!! 13) Escucha, Escucha Estamos en la lucha!!! (translation: Listen, Listen, We're all in the struggle.) 14) What’s disgusting? Union busting!!! What’s outrageous? Border’s wages!!! 15) Stop! Everyone listen workers here are on a mission. wages, fairness contract, voice come on Borders it's your choice! 16) Just say no to Border’s lies Defend our right to organize!!! 17) Does _____ unload the truck? No! We unload the truck! (greg, tami, steve, jim…) … shelve the books? … help the customer? … make the coffee? Who does the work? We do the work! 18) Hey Borders, corporate greed Hey workers, human need. caller: corporate greed! chanters: NO! All: Human need! 19) Is this not the worker's side? Yes this is the worker's side! Is that not the boss's side? Yes that is the boss's side! Is this not a strike floor? Yes it is a strike floor! Is that not a closed door? Yes that is a closed door! Is this not a picket line? Yes this is a picket line! Is it not contract time? Yes this is contract time! Worker's side! (worker's side!) Boss's side! (boss's side!) Strike floor! (strike floor!) Closed door! (closed door!) 20) We are the union (We are the union) Mighty, mighty union (Mighty, mighty union) Everywhere we go (Everywhere we go) People want to know (People want to know) Who we are (Who we are) So we tell them (So we tell them) (go to beginning) 21) Hey Borders, it’s about time What you pay us is a crime Hey Borders, hear our cry We need a contract, that’s no lie.

Online supporters 


Jobs With Justice 

Borders Workers received recognition for their struggle for a fair contract at last evenings annual dinner. Other work Jobs with Justice is doing in SE Michigan.


Borders Union Strike Fund Benefit 

Borders Union Strike Fund Benefit Monday November 10 - 8 pm - $20 The Ark After nearly a year of negotiations, workers at the downtown Borders book store host a concert to create a fund to help support workers in the event of a strike. Performers include moving folk troubadour Chris Buhalis, socially consious folk songwriter Jay Stielstra, poetic psychedelic folk rock band The Buzzrats and fiery rock band FUBAR. Funds will be donated to the shelters for the homeless and the Ann Arbor Hunger Coalition if a strike is avoided. listing in Current (no one will be turned away)

Website Menu 

Another Letter to Carmen Harlan 

November 09, 2003 Dear Ms Harlan, I am dismayed to learn that you have such disregard for workers that you would cross their picket line in front of the Borders bookstore in Ann Arbor. I can only hope that you were in the store to see for yourself what scab labor looks like and to conduct research for a story of Borders Inc greed. I was taught as a young boy that crossing a labor picket line was morally wrong. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr, both of whom honored and walked labor picket lines, I try to teach my students why undermining worker solidarity to side with management is not an issue of convenience but a moral outrage. As such, I am sure you understand my motivation for writing this e-mail to you today. I urge you to learn more about the workers' brave fight to earn a decent wage so they might support their families. You can find more information at http://bordersreadersunited.2ya.com or by calling the office of the Borders Workers Union office at 734-995-9974. Sincerely, Irfan Nooruddin, PhD

A letter To Carmen Harlan 

Carmen, When I read that you and your family crossed the Border's picket line, I was blown away and profoundly disappointed. Just how badly did you need those books and what lesson were you teaching your children? I don't know how much money you are paid but I do know what the Border's workers earn. Crossing that picket line leads me to believe that you don't support the notion that all people are entitled to fair compensation without regard to their occupations. What's more, Border's is a wealthy company. Before the silicon revolution, the rule of thumb was to pay workers no less than approximately 1/12th of that which the owners earned. Clearly things have shifted toward unbridled corporate and stockholder greed. Can you honestly (and apparently, arrogantly) lend your support to such a sad abuse of power? Put another way, some people make way too much money--exorbitant amounts well beyond their needs--while others do not make enough to survive. Argue, if you must, that this is what free enterprise is all about but that doesn't make it fair or right. Free enterprise works properly only when it is rooted in fairness and an appreciation for those at the bottom of the pay scale. The single most inspirational and dead-on right person of the baby-boomer generation was Rev. Martin Luther King. I refuse to believe for a minute that he would have condoned today's corporate practices. Rather, I would argue, he would be appalled. Clearly I have no right to speak in his stead but, if I learned anything from him, it would be that "all people are created equally" and that we have the right to peacefully fight for what is right. More often than not, those in non-management positions have no choice but to ask unions to fight for their rights. Please rethink your disdain for the Border's workers' plight. Quite simply, it isn't fair to expect their level of expertise to be left under-compensated. Burger King employees make more and I'm having a hard time understanding that application of free enterprise. Sincerely, Janet Kauker Bay Village, Ohio

Vote on Logo 

One of the workers in the store brought up the question of the best logo to you, so without having decided a timeline, which one should we use? When should we decide by? Vote in the comments section below, no login needed. or have it read: Find Out BINC* Injustice Greed Disrespect and below the image? *BINC = Borders Inc. Vote on which logo to use and then, if you can help:


Other UFCW news 

Grocery workers in Arizona won't be adding their numbers to the 83,000 workers currently on strike via Retail Worker


Rally on Friday... 

In front of Borders on Liberty Quarter Sheet Flyer Front Quarter Sheet Flyer Back



RALLY ON WEDNESDAY! For all workers and supporters! via GEO and LEO


Borders Inc Agrees to Settle Unfair Labor Practices with Union 

BORDERS, INC. AGREES TO SETTLE UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES WITH UNION (UFCW) Madison Heights, MI--Borders, Inc. yesterday settled the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), over its unlawful conduct at its downtown Ann Arbor, MI store. These unfair labor practice charges included: • illegally subcontracting the cleaning and maintenance work at its downtown Ann Arbor facility to an outside firm without prior notice or bargaining with the union (UFCW Local 876); • unlawfully insisting that the union agree to the elimination of the cleaning crew from the store as a condition in reaching a collective bargaining agreement; • unlawfully suspending and discharging a union supporter; • unlawfully interrogating employees about the union organizing drive; • unlawfully threatening employees with discipline if they discuss discipline with other employees; • unlawfully instituting more onerous working conditions. On December 6, 2002, over 93% of the Borders downtown Ann Arbor, MI store employees voted for union representation with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 876. On October 6, 2003, UFCW Local 876 represented employees at the Borders store in downtown Ann Arbor overwhelmingly rejected the company's last contract proposal, which included no improvement in wages and benefits, and voted to authorize a strike. One of the reasons the workers authorized a strike was because of Borders' unfair labor practices. A strike continues to be imminent. UFCW Local 876 Secretarty-Treasurer Victoria Collins said: "We are glad that Borders downtown Ann Arbor store has decided to settle the unfair labor practice charges against it. However, the Borders' unfair labor practices continue to have a serious impact on our negotiations. We will be closely monitoring Borders' activities to make sure that they comply with the Settlement Agreement and that they remedy each and every unfair labor practice that they have committed. Without a fair contract, a strike is still imminent. Our fight for a fair contract is far from over and the workers overwhelmingly support a strike." Hal Brannan,an eighteen-year Borders employee and a member of the union bargaining committee stated: "The fact that Borders has finally told the NLRB that it will stop breaking the law doesn't change the fact that it has not offered to pay thier workers a living wage, provided affordable benefits or give them respect on the job. We hope that Borders will stop violating the law and will bargain a fair contract. The workers at the downtown Ann Arbor store are united and determined to do whatever it takes to see these negotiations through." UFCW Local 876 represents over 22,000 wokers throughout Michigan. Local 876 is seeking strike authorization from the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union. Once authorization is recieved, the workers at the downtown Ann Arbor Borders store my engage in an unfair labor practice strike at any time thereafter.


Letter to the Editor - Borders treats employees fairly, acting ‘in good faith’ 

Letter to the Editor - Borders treats employees fairly, acting ‘in good faith’ Letter to the Editor, Michigan Daily

Report from Borders in London 

Report from Borders in London Billy Bragg news: He had started early so by the time we got there at 6.25 it was in full swing and sarah was right at the front. I managed to get through and give her a rosie t-shirt to put on. (apologies again to people whose enjoyment of the gig was disturbed!) I didn't expect him to comment until the end but as i got back to Alberr, who was looking after the rest of the t-shirts, Billy had started to talk about Borders and Ann Arbor! So i grabbed a t-shirt from my bag and pushed my way to the front again. I threw the t-shirt over the little barrier, he picked it up and said 'this is the t-shirt i am going to wear when i am over there in November' And then he read out the text about a living wage!


Hello Educators, 

This weekend (October 10,11 and 12) is Educator Appreciation Weekend at Borders Books, when educators can get a 25% discount at Borders bookstores nationwide, as well as 40% off on cafe items. (There's no restrictions on the books subject to the discount, i.e. it's not just education-related books!) If you want to support Borders workers this weekend, you can take advantage of the discount AND take these three easy steps: 1. Sign the Petition, and 2. Download this flyer and give it to a salesperson at Borders (pdf), and 3. Ask your union or association to sign on as a supporting organization (doc). Send back here

Borders Workers Treated to Bread and Roses 

Borders Workers Treated to Bread and Roses Following the Border’s Workers Union’s rejection of management contract last Sunday, community members continue to rally daily in support of the workers. via MichiganImc, also see their coverage on Community Support Mounting for Borders Workers Union

Billy Bragg fans are awesome!! 

Billy Bragg fans are awesome!! My friends are going to the London in-store wearing these shirts. Send the Borders workers their love and solidarity please. Mine too. Love Barb

Employees Reject Contract 

Borders' proposal declined by union via MichiganDaily

Our Allies are coming to town!!! 

November 11, Billy Bragg and Tom Morello in Concert. Royal Oak Music Theater, 4th Street in Royal Oak, Michigan This tour is in support of the upcoming FTAA protests in Miami in late November. Sponsored in part by the National AFL-CIO. The union movement is mobilizing to protest the expansion of the Free Trade of the Americas trade agreement, which is good for nobody but huge corporations. A good reason to gather, and the music will be sublime. Steve Earle will not be on this leg of the trip as we hoped, he has a previously scheduled gig in Detroit a week before, he won't join the Billy tour till the next day. Don't let it stop you, Billy is always wonderful. Tom Morello is the guitarist from the bands Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. He is a long-time supporter of union causes, particularly UNITE. Tickets will go on sale soon, watch the Metro Times and your inbox for more details.


New Image 


New office for Borders' Readers United and Borders' Workers Union 

Contact Information: Borders Readers United email 734.995.9974 527 E. Liberty Suite 203, Ann Arbor, MI 48104


Petition downloads: 

Petition downloads: For the Religious Community here For Union support here For community petition: here


Employee Info 

Borders News in Minneapolis 

Borders News in Minneapolis Borders Books Workers Unanimously Reject Contract Offer via BordersUnion


The Flier we are using, please download and circulate! 

The Flier we are using, please download and circulate! Info side - PDF Poster side - PDF



From the excellent rally from Tuesday night and the first ever (that I know of) Viral Circular Boycott. Fliering at Farmers Market

Protesters rally for Borders workers via The Michigan Daily 



1pm in front of the store. Yes, Sunday - September 28. See you there! ;-)

Saturday Morning 

Ok - I got the site up, barely! the short url works - bordersreadersunited.2ya.com - need to make a link to that free service, as well as ofoto and textamerica SATURDAY MORNING in a few minutes fliering Farmers Market! Yea! SATURDAY AFTERNOON 3-4 at the store on Liberty


Welcome to our new site ;-) 


Side Bar needs 

Viral Circular Boycott Petitions Actions Join/Endorse BRU Donations Fliers Facts BordersUnion.org UFCW.org