In my inbox today from the Austin DSA:
The workers of BookPeople have decided enough is enough and have come together to fight for better pay, benefits, and more. A petition was sent to management on Wednesday with 70% of the shop having signed cards already. The workers will be all-hands on deck working at BookFest for their employer (who runs the show) but while wearing their union buttons in public for the first time. Come help the workers of this supposedly progressive company spread the word about their struggle and the hypocrisy of their bosses!
We’ll hand out buttons, we’ll talk to people about why and how they should support the union, and why they should always support workers. This is a prime opportunity to strike at the very heart of Austin’s paper-thin veneer of progressive politics. Meet at the AFL-CIO building at 10AM so we can go over talking points, hand out clipboards, and build a base for mass action if things get ugly (hint: one of the board people of BookPeople is John Mackey of Whole Foods fame, so the workers are expecting an uphill battle). If you can’t make it earlier, still show up and hit me up so I can get you on board.
It looks like the union doing the organizing is the Office and Professional Employees International Union. OPEIU is a relatively small union (125k members) that represents a broad range of different occupations: nurses, helicopter pilots, nuclear technicians. They’re notable for representing the staff of other unions and progressive organizations. It doesn’t appear that they have a local in Austin, but they have six in Texas, the nearest in San Antonio. In Amarillo OPEIU is one of ten unions that represents workers at the Pantex nuclear weapons facility. In 2015 they went on strike for 39 days.