Letter to the Editor | Follett is going to hurt the Hawk Shop

Follet will harm the University of Iowa Hawk Shop by reducing ordering and labor costs.


Emily Wangen

An Iowa Hawk Shop student employee places a sweatshirt on a display on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019.

Once Follett takes over the operation of the bookstore, it will alter conditions to whatever extent necessary to maximize their profits.

When Fresno State University transitioned to a Follett run bookstore, there were several student complaints about textbook shortages. Previous employees could reapply for their positions in the bookstore or at district positions with a guaranteed six-month transition. If a previous bookstore employee resigned or was fired, a cheaper Follett employee replaced them.

In 2013, Follett laid off 570 full-time employees at 400 of its stores as part of a plan to staff its locations with more part-time employees. Part-time employees are not typically eligible for health care or retirement benefits.

In 2017, Follett reduced costs at the New York University bookstore by replacing full-time union employees with $11 per hour part-time positions.

These examples illustrate the Follett business model, increasing profits by reducing ordering and labor costs. By agreeing to the private partnership with Follett, the University of Iowa is turning the Hawk Shop into a source of revenue at the expense of students and bookstore employees.

– Caleb Pennington, Iowa City resident

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