FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Contact: Jessica Hayssen
Workers sought and won union recognition to negotiate for a livable wage, better working conditions and a seat at the table
TWIN CITIES, MN – Workers from three Half Price Books locations in Minnesota won union recognition today from a National Labor Relations Board election, making this the first union at the national chain Half Price Books. Workers have unionized with the United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 663 and 1189 to secure livable wages, better working conditions and a seat at the table to be able to transform those ideas into reality.
Stores in Coon Rapids, Roseville and St. Paul filed for union election in mid-October this year. Ballots were sent to workers by U.S. Mail and a certified election count was scheduled for Thursday, December 16 at 2 p.m. All three locations voted to unionize.
Workers gathered at a nearby coffee shop for a Zoom watch party as the ballots were being counted in Minneapolis at the National Labor Relations Board office across the street.
“For us at Northtown, a vote for the union is a vote for securing our agency and voice as workers. We look forward to negotiating a contract that will make this an even better and more democratic place to work for current and future employees, to the benefit of both–those of us at the store and the company as a whole,” said the workers at the Coon Rapids (Northtown) store.
Aaron Kerr, who works at the Roseville store said, “My coworkers and I have spent hundreds of hours preparing for this day. We have faced many issues over many years, and are now prepared to make our store one of the greatest places in the world to work. It is truly a historic day for everyone.”
“We’re excited to unionize because we’ve been working so hard throughout the pandemic and faced huge challenges— like low staffing levels, on-the-spot training, overwhelming workloads— all while risking covid exposure everyday we go into work. Through it all, we’ve stuck together. We all want to continue working at HPB, and it’s exactly because we enjoy working here that we want to unionize and make it a place that we can sustainably stay employed long term. I am so excited to unionize because I know it will help us to be compensated appropriately for the work we do, to have a voice in policies affecting our ability to do our day to day jobs, and to protect the benefits we have earned!” said Hanna Anderson, who works at the St. Paul Half Price Books location.
The Twin Cities is home to six Half Price Books stores: Apple Valley, Coon Rapids, Maplewood, St. Louis Park, St. Paul and Roseville.
Workers at the St. Louis Park Half Price Books location are currently voting by mail and election results will be available in a couple of weeks.
UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org.