All the neighborhood business news that broke on Monday after we posted Business in Brief I:
Politics and Prose is a union shop now
And it’s the first bookstore in the District to unionize. Politics and Prose and UCFW Local 400 jointly announced their agreement on the scope of the collective bargaining unit. And this is how the bookstore workers behind the unionization effort announced the development:
Hey guys, it’s been pretty quiet since New Year’s eve on our end because we’ve been busy tying up some loose ends. But we’re officially welcoming in 2022 with a very special announcement: https://t.co/HRslNZF7RY pic.twitter.com/kmSTXLyfZi
— Politics & Prose Workers Union (@PolProseUnion) January 3, 2022
“As stewards of a local, independent business with a 37-year legacy of progressive management and mission, we’ve valued collaborating with employees to solve problems and address needs, and we look forward to working with the union in the same spirit,” Owners Lissa Muscatine and Bradley Graham said in the joint statement.
Employees hope the contract secures higher wages, a standardized pay scale, and pay transparency. They also hope to improve scheduling and staffing levels. The holidays underscored how short-staffed the bookstore is, according to multiple workers. Employees also hope to have a say in health and safety policies, especially considering COVID-19 cases in D.C. have surged to the highest point in the pandemic, as well as a say in bookselling and buying practices.
P&P’s owners got blowback from customers and authors for first declining to voluntarily recognize the union, then hiring union-busting law firm Jones Day to represent them. Then, two weeks ago, they said they reached out to the union’s organizers to propose negotiations.
UCFW Local 400 also represents workers at Giant Food, Safeway, CVS and several other retailers.
Italian Bar’s Kickstarter reaches goal
“Grazie a tutti!! We did it. You guys are the best!!” Carolyn and Massimo Papetti wrote in a campaign update.
The money goes toward startup capital needed in the Roman-style coffee and gelato bar’s first few months of operation. Now, they need the DC government’s go-ahead to start the buildout.
“We’ve been engaged in a lot of back and forth with DCRA all day today so hoping something gives by week’s end for our permit to build. We are simultaneously waiting for DDOT (department of transportation) to give approval for our sidewalk cafe! It’s an opera!”
And a tragicomedy. At their other business just up the street…
I’m Eddie Cano opened for takeout service a few hours later.
Some Chevy Chase small business updates
In the latest issue of “Chevy Chase News and Notes,” a monthly newsletter from former ANC 3/4G commissioner Jerry Malitz:
- Write For You rebrands
- Blue 44 crowdfunds a canopy for its outdoor dining area
- And there’s a Q&A with Magruder’s owner Ki Sung Yoon.
Buy some of Mark Furstenberg’s cookbooks
The Bread Furst founder did not write them. He owns them! Proceeds from the book sale support a good cause: