While frontline booksellers, shelvers, and shippers remain on layoff status, Powell’s has trumpeted the fact that “over 100 workers” have been brought back to work. In fact, to date, only 49 frontline bookstore workers have been recalled to their former positions. The other 51+ are management staff, doing frontline bookseller, shelver, and shipping work, instead of the union workers who were trained to do this work and did that work everyday.
Today, ILWU Local 5 issued a formal challenge to Powell's actions (assigning work to higher paid, non-union staff while union staff are laid off). While we understand the difficult nature of the situation COVID-19 has created in our society, we remain incredibly disappointed in how Powell’s has dealt with this situation and treated workers. Local 5 explicitly denounces the misleading statements made by Emily Powell with regards to her statement on 03/27/2020 of bringing back “over 100 workers”. These distinctions are important. We cannot stand by while Powell’s misleads the public and so issue the above public statement to correct the record.