In an age where online retailers are forcing even the largest corporate chain book stores to close, The Strand in Union Square is one of a handful of great remaining independent shops left in New York City, beloved by many New Yorkers. And while most retailers of books, as well as other goods, aren’t exactly known for their excellent employee treatment, most of The Strand’s employees have been members of the United Auto Workers Union (the union supports many industries besides auto workers) for 35 years, and labor rights activists long pointed to the store as a model of good retailer policies.
But lately, Strand employees say that the owners are giving them a raw deal and transforming their workplace into the kind of corporate-style environment they think The Strand should stand against. And now, with help from the Occupy movement, some employees are mobilizing to fight back.
In addition to circulating a press release to local universities and labor groups, employees told MetroFocus that if The Strand’s owners won’t move forward with contract negotiations, they intend to escalate the pressure — possibly with a strike.