Book business workers at a number of bookstores, publishers, and literary publicity firms have declared a Book Workers Day of Solidarity on March 26 in support of Amazon workers organizing to form a union in Bessemer, Ala. The union vote ends on March 29.
Workers at 7 Stories Press, Archipelago Books, Coffee House Press, Europa Editions, Feminist Press, Haymarket Books, Nectar Literary, The New Press, Two Lines Press, and Verso Books, among other publishers and booksellers nationwide, have pledged their support. The action, the group says, recognizes "the importance of the right of all workers to collectively bargain over working conditions and support Amazon workers in Bessemer organizing for safer working conditions, the transition from 'at will' to 'just cause' employment, and fair and accessible grievance procedures."
The group invites book workers across the industry to join in expressing solidarity. Planned actions include a Twitter/social media campaign on Friday, with hashtags yet-to-be-announced; some signatories will also post in solidarity from their company accounts when possible. Other virtual actions are yet to be announced.
"Warehouse workers are the backbone of the book industry. Moreover, as we've seen throughout the pandemic, they're the backbone of the economy as a whole," Allison Tamarkin Paller, web manager at Seven Stories Press, said in a statement. "It is imperative that we support their efforts to unionize and improve their labor conditions."
Booksellers Mandy Medley and Katharine Solheim, of Pilsen Community Books, added: "We believe the fight against Amazon goes far beyond bringing revenue back to indie bookstores to include supporting book workers fighting for better workplace conditions. Taking a stand against Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s exploitative labor practices is about more than winning back book sales—it’s about collective liberation."