ILWU Local 5

Representing workers' rights since 1999

Why are we asking Powell's Leadership to #RecallPowells? Here's a quick recap!

Amidst the shock of the layoffs on March 19, 2020 and the fear of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, workers were given 48 HOURS to fill out our recall forms. These forms were our lifeline to Powell's and the avenue through which we would get our jobs back.


Articles 9.6 and 9.7 of our contract detail the recall process: 


Laid-off employees who desire the right to reinstatement will have up to two (2) calendar days to preference in writing up to two (2) job titles. A laid-off employee’s first preference must be their own job title unless it no longer exists in which case they may preference a different job title or group.


The intent and primary objective of this recall procedure is to provide regular employees whose employment has been terminated in a layoff with priority rights to reinstatement to the former job title and location. Recall rights are extended to laid-off employees who were regular employees at the time of the layoff.


We signed these forms in good faith that we would be called back in order of seniority at such a time that Powell's could reopen. We filled out unemployment. We talked books to each other. We waited.


In May 2020, the Union reached out to the Company to ensure a shared understanding of the recall process. The Company agreed, in writing, that the recall list had no end date. Now, over a year later, the Company has decided that these forms have expired.

The booksellers are Powell's. We have put a whole lot of love into those shelves and into the book community. We want to come back. Tell Powell's Leadership to recall the workers. #RecallPowells

Ways you can show support:


  1. Spread the word on social media! Write a message of support for the workers or a message urging Powell’s to do the right thing. Be sure to use the hashtag #RecallPowells so we can find you in the crowd!

  2. Sign onto this community letter urging Powell’s to halt external hiring and recall their laid-off workers:

  3. If you’re buying books online, use the Local 5 partner link! 7.5% of all sales (excluding gift cards, virtual credit, and subscriptions) will go directly to our Local 5 Strike Fund:

  4. Follow @ILWULocal5 on social media so we can keep you posted!


Thank you!