Borders
Labor Strife History

Borders, Inc. started operations in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1971. Since then, they have opened close to 250 stores and earned book sales of $10 billion in 1994. In 1997, Borders Inc. started Borders.com, which is now a top online book site.

Labor troubles started in Philadelphia in 1996 at store #21. They held a vote in March of 1996, and the employees decided not to unionize. Shortly after that, Miriam Fried, regarded as an excellent employee, was fired from store #21, even though she had been given several excellent reviews from her bosses. She was really fired because she had the audacity to try to unionize her store.

Since the Philadelphia store has failed to unionize, seven other Borders have tried to unionize, four of those stores have approved unionization. Those stores are in the cities of Lincoln Park, Illinois, Des Moines, Iowa, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and the Borders in the World Trade Center. These stores are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

Stores that were not unionized were facing steep anti-union activities from Borders, Inc. In Connecticut, one of the stores that did not unionize, employees leveled NLRB charges against Borders for unfair actions. Nothing has come yet of the accusations, but it was clear that Borders did not want unions in their stores.

The UFCW finally organized a boycott of Borders which was soon picked up by other pro-labor groups. They were protesting the unfair climate Borders has created against unions. The boycott soon fizzled, but the word was already out. Borders and the UFCW continue their fight in the stores.

The fight continues to this day. Despite past defeats, Borders employees across the nation and world are strengthening their position to unionize. Progress has been made. In Philadelphia, the city council passed a resolution that urged Borders, Inc. to reinstate Miriam Fried. Plus, more votes are on the way for unionizing.

Home Company Response What do the employees want? Michael Moore's Involvement

Over to Barnes and Noble's Labor Movement