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Powell's Books union contract negotiations community update Number 2!

Local 5 is still in contract negotiations with Powell's Books, Inc
Please see  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/09/272604.shtml for the first installment
there have been many posts about this struggle on indymedia--this is just one.
ILWU Local 5
ILWU Local 5
If you have been following this, please read on. If not, please take a look at the link above to catch up.

Well, its officially Holiday season for the retail industry and we still have no contract. They have not moved at all. We want what we want, we won't move either. Otherwise, there is not much to report other than that they told us exactly how much their healthcare costs have gone up in the past year and it's WAY LESS than they were saying it was. To recap, they want to freeze our wages, and give us 2% each year for the next 4 years. This (wage alone) results in a 4% wage decrease for all employees over the life of the contract. Additionally, they want to increase our healthcare costs by over 100%. All the while, their sales have increased, and the number of employees has been reduced--less people doing more work. We won't take it, heres what you can do to help.

#1: Sign the Boycott plegde here:  http://www.ilwulocal5.com/index.php
We're not calling for a boycott NOW, but if we do, give us a way to contact you.

#2: Come to our Vigil: Every saturday night we will hold a candelight vigil in front of the Burnside store from 7-8pm. It is fun. Come chat with us and our families.

#3: Come to our next picket: 11-12-03(thats wednesday), 11-4pm we will be having a picket at the Burnside store (10th & Burnside downtown). If Beaverton is easier for you--there will be a picket there from 11-2, and a picket at the Hawthorne store from 3-5. We will have signs--it will be a hoot. Stay tuned for futher pickets.

#4: Email Michael Powell at  michel.powell@powells.com. Email our Ceos Ann Smith ( ann.smith@powells.com) and Sylvie Horne ( sylvie.horne@powells.com) tell them what you think.

#5: This might be the most fun. Call the store 800-878-7323 or 503-233-2037 and place books on hold indefinately, or until we get a fair contract. Make up a name, make up a number. It doesnt matter. This will keep books out of circulation & slow us down. Or, come into the store, get a bunch of books, have an employee call a manager, and tell the manager that you were going to buy them that night, but you want them put on hold until Local 5 has a fair contract.

Come to the store, talk to us, we like you!

homepage: homepage: http://www.ilwulocal5.com/index.php
phone: phone: 503-228-4651
address: address: 1005 W Burnside, Portland, Or 97209

emp 07.Nov.2003 00:10


don't call 503-233-2037

do call 503-228-4651

Keep it up man 07.Nov.2003 01:31


I did the "go in to buy a book, try to put it on hold until the contract is fixed" thing last month. I think I was one of the first people to try this because the manager they called was really confused.

Thing is, I was not doing it just for the union; I really wanted to buy that book (still want to buy it, it is driving me crazy having to wait). I promise I will only buy it from Powell's, and only after (like five seconds after) the contract is fair (or at least a compromise the employees and store can live with).

Sure, Powell's can easily get by without the few cents profit they would have made off me in early October, and the buck or so they would have made off me last week (yeah, another book I want came out), but it's a start. Remember: this is the union's first renewal negotiation. If they buckle under, they will never have any real negotiating power again.

Good luck guys, and please hurry. I want that new Neil Gaimon book!

This is such a shame 07.Nov.2003 02:03


Can't someone tell that Michael Powell that numbers aren't everything? LIFE is everything. This is just numbers to him, but to you it is your lives on a string.

An injury to one is an injury to all. 07.Nov.2003 05:47


I was listening online to KWVA. They dedicated "Street Fighting Man" to Powell's Union Workers who may need to go on strike.
Eugene college radio.
If that is true, I know that Powell's has had an ongoing relationship with Amazon for at least five years.

Go to the library for awhile.
Don't buy a book until you must.


please ad these dates to the calendar 07.Nov.2003 09:21

indy volunteer

It would be great if all the dates mentioned here for people to express solidarity with the workers at Powells were listed on the portland imc calendar... just click on it at the upper left on the front page. that makes it easier to feature (and remember) when wading through all the newswire posts and features!

thanks! Keep up the great work!

wrong email address... 07.Nov.2003 17:09

purple punk

Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't that be  michael.powell@powells.com? (as opposed to michel.powell?) I just sent a few letters of solidarity and michael.powell didn't bounce.

BTW, I am going to start the boycott on my own if Powell doesn't at least give you guys a cost of living increase without penalizing you for the greed of the health care insurance industry. And soon. Taking this long to negotiate is to act in bad faith. Hang in there people!!!

yes 07.Nov.2003 19:05


i shouldnt writr articles at midnight. Yes, it is  michael.powell@powells.com

events for powells from here on in will be set on the pdx indymedia calender--our vigils and next picket already are.


Contract numbers 08.Nov.2003 14:16

Teddy Ruxpin

Yes, helthcare is more expensive now, that is not Powell's fault, BUT their profits are up too.

Unless they can show us real actual numbers where they can not afford to pay fair wage increases (not likely, but I am a fair man and will admit anything is possible), then they will not get my business again until they fix things.

Thank You! 09.Nov.2003 09:29


As a Powells employee I would just like to say thanks for all of the support we've encountered in the community in the last few weeks. Hopefully, with your help, we can get Michael to sign a fair contract before Thanksgiving. Then you all can buy all the Christmas presents you want from Powells!

If you happen to have some spare time, come on out on Wed and cheer us on.

Strike? 10.Nov.2003 02:27

Need a Job

So when are you guys gonna go on strike?

I only ask because I could use some extra cash money, I'm sure Powells will probably pay the temp workers replacing you for the holiday rush all the cash you might have gotten were you not so greedy.

Powell's is so bad? 10.Nov.2003 09:25


You are telling me to not shop at Powell's because Michael Powell and his crew are such bad folks. If he is so bad to his employees, then tell me why I should EVER shop there again. If he meets your original demand for a wage increase (or whatever you are asking for), then you might say he is a good employer again, and thus we should shop there again? If Mr Powell is so very bad, I should never shop there again. Won't he just be a bad employer next year when it's time for a raise again? Am I to believe that this man is evil when he does not bow to your demands, but is otherwise a great bookseller that I should patronize often when you are happy with him. Which is the truth? If he is as bad an employer as you say, why should I ever darken the doorway of Mr.Powell's store again?


evil? 10.Nov.2003 10:34

evil otto emp

First of all, Powell's can't legally replace us until we go on an "economic strike." So 'Need a Job' is going to have to wait a little longer and then risk crossing a picket line.
'Confused-1' has inferred from our requests that Michael Powell is evil. While he is very rich and misguided, I think evil is an inaccurate label. We are saying that you should support the workers in their struggle for a fair contract. A contract will last either 3 or 4 years and guarantees our right to benefits and a wage schedule. Once we have a contract you can support the workers by shopping at Powell's. We don't want Powell's to go out of business. If we didn't love our jobs and fellow employees we wouldn't bother fighting for better conditions.
Frankly, Michael Powell is treating this like a game and it is natural for him to try to force as many concessions as he can in the interest of making more money. What he needs to be made to realize is that we don't see this as a game. Our health and livlihoods are at stake and he's played this waiting game for too long.
You should boycott Powell's only as long as he's treating his workers with such disrespect. It is a tactic, not a way of life. The workers depend on the store's success, much as the store's success depends on us.
As another employee posted above, all support is greatly appreciated. A kind word can make these highly stressful days bearable.

We ARE The City Of Books.
We CAN shut it down.