Efforts by booksellers at the Books-A-Million outlet in Leesburg, Va., to become the chain’s first location to unionize failed following the official election results on January 19. While Virginia is a right-to-work state, the failure to unionize was all the more unexpected as, reportedly, the store's workers initially and overwhelmingly supported the initiative.
According to a release dated November 18 issued by the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, “every single worker at the store signed union authorization cards in support" of an election to determine whether the 15 BAM employees in the Leesburg store would join UFCW Local 400 so as to collectively bargain contracts. Still, UFCW national press secretary Brian Doherty told PW in an email after yesterday’s election, “unfortunately, the vote did not go our way.” Doherty did not offer further details.
BAM, founded in 1917 in Birmingham, Ala., and still headquartered there, currently operates more than 260 stores in 32 states, most of them in the southeastern U.S., as well as in the District of Columbia.
Booksellers working at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., joined UFCW Local 400 in January 2022, and there has been a wave of successful bookseller unionization efforts across the country this past year, including at Half Price Books, a Minnesota-based chain of discount bookstores.
BAM representatives did not respond to PW’s requests for comment by press time. Other parties who potentially had knowledge of the unionization drive also did not respond after multiple requests for comment.