The bookish employees of the Strand have one thing in common with the burly, possibly mobbed-out longshoremen of New York's waterways: They're standing tall for organized labor. The Strand's workers, who've long been unionized via the United Auto Workers, improbably, have just rejected the latest contract offer from the bookstore's management.
The rejected proposal would have frozen pay for one year, increased the amount that employees pay toward their health care plan, decreased annual personal days to five from nine, and implemented several other cost-cutting provisions.
It would have also created a two-tier system, in which employees hired after September 2011 would receive less attractive benefit and wage packages. Some workers said this would lead to resentment among staff members.
Management, for its part, blames the stingy new contract on declining sales, which have fallen 5 percent or so since 2008. Quick, everyone buy a book on the history of the labor movement!