Solidarity Call: Borders firing

Andrew Flood (
Fri, 21 Jun 1996 10:08:08 +0100 (BST)

Solidarity Appeal
Dated 19th June 1996

Call from the US IWW for solidarity: Send a complaint to the web
page address in the message if you can. This text is from a flyer
being distributed by the IWW in Seattle at the moment.

On Saturday afternoon, June 15 the General Manager of the Borders Bookshop in
Center City Philadelphia, David Stewart, fired an employee named Miriam
Fried, claiming she had accepted a customer's check without an address.
Who is Miriam Fried? Well, even her boss knew that she was a good worker.
In fact, she'd never been written up since her employment began.
Nope, she wasn't really fired over a mistake with a customer's check.
She was
fired because of her involvement with a union organizing drive. In fact, she
belonged to the organizing committee.
What really happened was that on March 27, her union, the Industrial Workers
of the World, narrowly lost an NLRB election at the store. David Stewart
fired Miriam Fried out of revenge.
Borders often brags about its well-trained, customer-oriented staff. But
Borders workers only get $6.50 an hour and have no say in the conditions of
their work. No wonder Borders workers want a union! They want what any
worker wants: Decent wages, good treatment, and control over their job.
> Borders gave them threats, brought in a professional union buster, forced
them to attend anti-union meetings, and fired Miriam Fried!
While this was going on, Borders' top executives got between $240,000 to
$860,000 in one year alone.
Tell the Borders bosses what a bunch of skinflints and tightwads they are!
Tell them to bring back Miriam Fried! Plug up the Borders phoneline
(1-800-644-7733). Jam up their mailbox (311 Maynard Street, Ann Arbor MI
48104). Overload their Webpage ( Show them what
Our union, the Industrial Workers of the World, is picketing Borders all
around the country! In Boston, the Store Manager even tried to call the cops
on our pickets. Unfortunately for the corporate cowards who run Borders,
theres no law against picketing on a public sidewalk!
And, if you'd like to join a real union, one that won't leave you hanging
when the going gets rough, call the Puget Sound IWW (935-9012). Call us NOW,
and start to take control of YOUR job!
Puget Sound IWW, P.O. Box 20752, Seattle, WA 98102

Further details.........

During the week before the vote, Borders broke the law when one
of their assistant managers, Katie Roggenburke, actually interrogated not
less than six booksellers, asking how they would be voting on election
day. The committee, which had absolute control of the campaign, did not
file a charge, believing that they had the election in the bag and that
the telling the offending party was enough. The committee had made an
early committment to behaving with courtesy and politeness. The company
has now made its crude response. Roggenburke's illegal browbeating was
only one of the breaches of law made by the company during the campaign.
reiterate my own and the Borders workers' gratitude for the
Solidarity Actions taken by our comrades in Seattle. The IWW is now
demanding Justice and reinstatement for Miriam Fried in Boston, The SF
Bay area, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Seattle, and [Your Branch Here]!!!!
Morale is high now, and this was badly needed ever since the
knife went through our hearts on March 27th.
Thanks again to everyone, and lets KEEP THE PRESSURE ON!

Dear Sister and Fellow Workers,

This afternoon the General Manager of the Borders Bookshop in Center
City Philadelphia, David Stewart, fired a member of the IWW organizing
comittee, Miriam Fried. This took place after a short discussion about
her supposedly having failed to enforce a c ompany policy that requires
a costomer's check to have an address on it before it can be accepted at
a cash register. Miriam had never been written up since her employment
began, and is known for being an excellent bookseller. During the
campaign at tha t store, which suffered a big setback in a narrow defeat
at NLRB election on March 27th, Miriam Fried was one of the most visible
and spirited union firebrands.

A sister worker of the truest colors has been vindictively fired on the
lamest of ruses, obviously because of her union affiliation. This is
the time for a response from all of us. I urge everyone in this union
or friendly to it to apply pressure at th e Borders store in your area,
of any and every nature you see fit, so that this spiteful action can be
clearly read by the Borders Group, inc. as having cost them money, time,
aggravation, and public prestige. We must make them eat crow. Don't
feel tha t you need to touch base with anyone here before doing it.
Just go ahead and DO IT.

I will keep all of you posted. I thank you in advance for your support.

In Solidarity,

Bob Helms
Philadelphia IWW

From: Jon Bekken <>

Fellow Workers,

Below is the text (draft -- we anticipate polishing it up a bit as we go
on) members of the Boston GMB will begin distributing outside the
Borders' downtown Boston store Monday, June 17th. This store opened
about 2 months ago, and is just a couple blocks from Barnes & Noble,
Borders' chief competition. We will be leafletting/picketing the store
intermittently as our resources permit, and will also distribute
leaflets at a talk Tuesday night by AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Richard
Trumka. If FW Fried has not been re-instated by that time, we will be
picketing talks next Wednesday (6/26) and Thursday (6/27) evening (5:30)
by authors of books on slavery and gays coming out in the workplace,
respectively. There are Wobblies in many, if not most, of the cit ies
where Borders has its stores. If there is no Borders in your area,
Borders also owns Waldenbooks and BrentanoUs and Planet Music stores
(though we think it a better idea to keep the main focus on Borders,
where possible, as there are about 900 Walden book stores -- far too
many for the IWW to cover. There are only about 115 Borders stores).

We'd love to hear what you're doing

Jon Bekken, for the Boston Area GMB
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