“Minneapolis — Workers at Borders Books and Music in Uptown still don’t have a contract, but they sent management scrambling Wednesday when they said they’d accept Borders’ last contract offer ­ an offer the workers previously rejected. The catch? Borders would agree to neutrality and card-check recognition in union organizing attempts at seven other local Borders stores.

Borders’ management quickly recessed negotiations to make “What do we do now?” phone calls to corporate headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich., said Bernie Hesse, organizing director for UFCW Local 789, which represents the Uptown Borders workers.

It was the first time Uptown management didn’t immediately say “no” to a proposal from its workers, Hesse said. Nonetheless, about an hour later, store management returned ­and said “no.”

Workers at the Uptown Borders have been trying for more than a year to gain their first contract. It would be the first union contract at any Borders store nationwide. Workers at the flagship store in Ann Arbor ­ the only other unionized Borders ­ have been on strike since Nov. 8 in an attempt to get their first contract.

Hesse said the Uptown workers are willing to accept a contract they rejected if it makes it easier for other Borders’ workers to organize. A card-check neutrality agreement skips the usual National Labor Relations Board election process. Instead, a company agrees to allow union organizers access to its employees, agrees not to engage in union-busting meetings, and agrees to recognize the union as soon as a majority of affected workers sign cards requesting union representation. The union generally agrees not to carry on any public campaigns against the company. […[ “

> From Workday Minnesota: “Borders workers give company offer a twist”

Author: Rob