In a groundbreaking moment for the retail chain, Indigo Books & Music workers at the Square One location in Mississauga, Ontario, have filed an application to join the United Food and Commercial Workers union. The vote to join UFCW Local 1006A will be held Sept. 21.
The employees launched their campaign on social media (Twitter and Instagram) with video support from politicians such as Hamilton Centre MP Matthew Green, former MPs Olivia Chow and Libby Davies, and author/activist Judy Rebick. The news was also supported by bestselling authors such as Zoe Whittall and Naomi Klein.
Workers at Indigo Square One are organizing a union in response to unfair treatment during Covid. Please support their efforts pic.twitter.com/npjqkyoUSh
— judyrebick (@judyrebick) September 18, 2020
It has already been a tough year for Indigo. When announcing its full 2020 financial report in June, CEO Heather Reisman said, “Fiscal 2020 has been a critical year of restructuring, including repatriating our entire design studio from New York, and other efforts designed to lower our overall cost structure. This activity will continue and gain further traction right through Fiscal 2021.”
In June, the chain closed 20 small-format Coles stores, mostly in remote locations across the country. Reisman told Bloomberg News in an interview at the time that “the depths of the losses we are looking at are literally as seismic as this COVID event is to the world.” She also spoke of her hope that the federal government would step in to assist larger retailers affected by COVID-19.
In August, Indigo released its first 2021 quarter financial numbers ending June 27, reporting a nearly 30 per cent revenue loss from $192.6 million to $135.1 million due to store closures during the pandemic lockdowns. The blowback from the losses have already affected Canadian distributors and publishers. (Q&Q reported in late May on the significant increased volume of returns.)
Lots of writers are booksellers or former booksellers, let’s show our support for Indigo Square One employees who are fighting to start a union. #donttakeawaymyheatherspickstickerthoughpls https://t.co/wLE16oWEdn
— Zoe Whittall (@zoewhittall) September 18, 2020
More to come.