RICHMOND, Va. (March 19, 2024) – Today, the staff of Shelf Life Books announced they have officially unionized with United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 Union, making them the first booksellers in Richmond to form a union.

The workers organizing committee released the following statement:

“We’re proud to be the first booksellers in Richmond to unionize. As we look forward to negotiating our first union contract, we won’t be starting from scratch thanks to the work of our union siblings at Politics and Prose and Solid State Books, who have negotiated groundbreaking contracts that inspired us to unionize in the first place.”

After every eligible worker at the store signed union authorization cards in support of the effort,  the owners chose to voluntarily recognize the union. The union covers five employees at the store located at 2913 W Cary Street in Richmond and negotiations with management on a first union contract will begin later this week.

In a growing trend, workers have formed unions at bookstores across the country. Booksellers and baristas at Politics and Prose became the first bookstore workers in the District of Columbia to unionize and ratify a union contract, followed shortly after by Solid State Books. At least four Barnes & Noble locations in the northeast recently voted to unionize, along with workers at independent sellers McNally Jackson, Goods for the Study, Greenlight Bookstore and Book Culture in the New York area, as well as workers at Half Price Books in Minnesota.

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United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400 is led by President Mark Federici and represents 35,000 members working in the grocery, retail, health care, food processing, service and other industries in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.