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Michigan - September 1997

Ann Arbor Wobblies suspended picketing at Borders' flagship store at the request of the local UFCW organizers in the weeks leading to an NLRB election scheduled for mid-August (the UFCW withdrew it's petiton at the last minute). But they distributed hundreds of leaflets while helping to staff a Jobs with Justice lit table at the Ann Arbor Art Fair, and traveled to Novi to picket the grand openeing of a Borders there.

(Taken from an article in The Industrial Worker, September, 1996.)

Minnesota - December 1997


Leaflets outline:

  • anti-union history,
  • firing of a union organizer,
  • recent expansion in the UK, and
  • pitch for workers to join the IWW.

e-mail: "We had a generally good response. One woman asked if we were targetting Border's for IWW organizing, and I responded that we'd organize anywhere the workers wanted us, but this was aimed mostly at the general public.

"[W]e took the leaflets we had left and wandered into the store. Andy chatted with a worker he knew, and we left leaflets in the politics and history section, next to books by FW Chomsky and all those cool biographies of Che. We wandered past the Business section, and snickered over a title in prominent display: 1,001 Ways to Reward Your Employees (presumably, other than giving them back what you steal from them). I left a few leaflets next to it, and we added our contribution to the remainder table outside as we made our way out.

New York - September, 1996

Workers Solidarity Alliance picketed Waldenbooks in New York August 8th and 9th. On the 8th the picket was held outside Waldenbooks in Brooklyn, while on Friday they moved over to the store in Manhattan. In addition to leafleting, they had a small piece od street theatre with a chained and gagged worker symbolizing labor relations at Borders/Waldenbooks.

New York Wobblies organized a picket at the Brooklyn Borders on August 24th.

(Taken from an articla in the Industrial Worker, September, 1996.)

Portland - September 1996

And Some Past Action in Portland...

Wobblies picketed the Portland Borders August 17, stationing themselves outside both entrances with picket signs reading "Boycott Borders-Borders Fires Unionist" and of course old faithful, "An Injury To One Is An Injury To All", and distributed about 300 leaflets.

The manager came up near the start of the picketing and said he didn't care if we picketed, but we had our facts wrong and Miriam Fried was fired for "being a bad worker." The Wob he was talking to asked him where he got his information from and he replied, "Borders HQ." Well that almost sent us packing. I mean if Borders HQ says so then it must be true, right? A Scissorbill came to us almost foaming at the mouth and said, "Borders is the best place I've ever worked," and that we must have our facts wrong because, "Borders is a big corporation and they can't just go around breaking the law like that!" On a more positive note, several workers came out and thanked us for our presence and asked to talk with us later.

(Taken from an article in The Industrial Worker, September, 1996.)

Salt Lake City - August 1996

Seven Wobs visited the downtown Waldenbooks (in Crossroads Mall) June 26th. Three people entered the store and began passing out flyers to customers and employees. The rest picketed outside until security came and threw them out of the mall. However, one Fellow Worker was overlooked and stayed inside the store for an hour and a half talking to customers and workers. Leafletting has continued at area Waldenbooks, and if Borders moves ahead on plans to open a Borders in the city, Wobs are planning a pr oper welcome.

(Taken from an article in The Industrial Worker, August 1996)

Seattle - September, 1996

Wobblies showed up outside the Seattle Borders July 20th, handing out hundreds of leaflets in the four hours they were there, following up on the efforts of a member who has been doing daily leafleting.

And Some Past Action in Seattle...

The Puget Sound General Membership Branch (of the IWW) began picketiing June 21st, distributinghundreds of copies of a leal\flet about Boredrs union-busting to prospective customers and passers-by in the bust downtown district. The Borders manager asked for a leaflet, then told me that she'd read the "real" facts in the Fried firing and they weren't at all what it said in our leaflet. I asked her if she was the manager. "Yes, I am," she replied. "Sorry," said I, turning my back. "I don't talk to bosse s." I did, however, get a chance to inform a Borders clerk who was leaving for a break, and who told me that she was well paid at $6.50/hour, that working at a book store nearly 20 years ago I made nearly as much as she did now. -Mark

San Francisco - August 1996

San Francisco Bay Area IWW members conducted spirited informational pickets June 21st and 22nd at the downtown San Francisco Borders Store. Flyers were passed out; there were songs, chants and picket signs; and the black and red Wobbly banner was unfurled for all to see by the sidewalk next to the store, which is on Powell Street near Union Square.

Store management wasn't too happy about the presence, and posted a counter-statement on the front door and handbilled customers on the inside. The usual management bull. This is a new Yuppie, upscale establishment, and to have their nicey-dicey image ch allenged by people demanding that they honor the rights of the workers employed by their chain just wasn't good PR for these hip, retail capitalists.

Some middle-class types coldly ignored our presence and walked past us into the store. Others stopped to talk to us and decided not to go in after hearing about the injustice to our fellow worker in Philadelphia. Holding Borders' feet to the fire public ly around the country is the best hope for these $6.50 an hour workers to obtain justice and union recognition.


Since then, picketing has continued at the San Francisco store and at several Borders outlets in Bay Area suburbs.

(Taken from an article in The Industrial Worker, August, 1996)