Booksellers of the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle voted to unionize on Friday. The independent rank-and-file union is called the Book Workers Union and Elliott Bay's owner Peter Aaron recognized it voluntarily and immediately.
The union said they will be holding elections in the coming weeks to determine who will fill roles within the organization.
The union's website said the union is seeking health insurance, benefits, and competitive wages, "so that we can lower our turnover rate and hold on to the staff that makes Elliott Bay the legendary Seattle institution it is."
The first order of priority for the union will be addressing the coronavirus outbreak, which has heavily impacted life in Seattle. "We are currently holding negotiations with management in order to address the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the bookstore and to ensure that employees are represented in any decision making regarding sick time, staff and hour reductions, or store closures, among other pressing concern," said a statement from the union.
The statement continued, "We made the decision to start our own union given the size of our workplace and the unique work environment of Elliott Bay. We know and love our bookstore, and feel that creating our own organization will allow us to best meet our collective needs. We are deeply committed to ensuring that working at a bookstore is not solely a labor of love, but is also a viable and secure career."