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Breaking REI Union News

A Growing Union Campaign Has Put REI's Progressive Image On Trial

March 16th 2024 — HUFFPOST: REI workers from stores around the country showed up uninvited at their corporate office in Issaquah, Washington, last Friday. The signs they were carrying made it clear to the white-collar employees looking down from the windows above that they weren’t there to tour the campus.

Plenty of REI’s devoted customers ― “members,” in company parlance, since REI is structured as a cooperative ― would have been surprised to see disaffected employees protesting such a beloved retailer. But a growing union campaign that has so far organized nine stores and counting is testing the progressive reputation that REI built through its environmental and conservation advocacy over the years.

Workers who are trying to improve their jobs through a union contract say the cooperative is failing to live up to its values and damaging its reputation in the process.

Read the Full Article Here

REI Workers File for Union Election in Santa Cruz, CA​​

March 14th 2024 — SANTA CRUZ, CA: - Today, REI workers at the Santa Cruz location filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board, registering their intent to join United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) Local 5. The location would be the 2nd REI store in the Bay Area and the 10th REI store nationwide to unionize for fair pay, sustainable schedule practices, and better working conditions.

Truitt Archibald (he/him), REI Sales Specialist at the Santa Cruz store, said the following: "Today. I'm proud to stand with my coworkers and take this first step towards a better REI for workers, consumers, and the larger outdoor community. As green vest, it's our hard work and expertise that make REI the brand that it is. We deserve the compensation respect, and safer working conditions that only a union contract can guarantee. I feel honored to join this growing movement."​

Read the Full Press Release from UFCW Local 5 Here

REI Workers to March to Headquarters

March 7th, 2024 — ISSAQUAH, WA - REI employees from the company’s nine unionized stores around the country, including in Boston, plan to hike from a park in Issaquah, Wash., to REI headquarters Thursday afternoon to demand that executives come to the table and bargain in good faith.

 

Over the past two weeks, union members have held events in the nine communities where they’re organized to unveil a national platform demanding job security, guaranteed minimum hours, a consistent sick policy, and minimum staffing levels. Bargaining for a first contract has been dragging on for as long as two years at the Soho location in New York, the first store to organize. When REI changed its legal representation a year into negotiations, the unions said, the company rolled back an agreement to give workers there the same pay increases offered to non-union stores the day after the union election.

 

In November, in the first coordinated effort among all the REI union employees, who are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, the workers filed 80 unfair labor practice charges against the company for bargaining in bad faith and engaging in anti-union behavior.

Read the Full Article Here

REI Castleton location becomes 9th store to unionize

February 12th 2024 — INDIANAPOLIS - Workers at a Castleton REI store in Indianapolis won their union election by a 27-17 vote Friday, joining a young national union collective and becoming the ninth store of the outdoors retailer to unionize.

Workers are demanding consistent hours, competitive wages adjusted for inflation, improved communication as well as healthcare, parental leave and PTO adjustments in their move to unionize.

“An overwhelming number of us voted in favor of unionizing, and we can’t wait to make REI Castleton a better place for everyone,” the national collective posted on social media. “Here’s to forging a stronger Co-op alongside our union siblings nationwide.”

Read the Full Article Here

REI accused of widespread labor law violations at unionized US stores

November 15th 2023 — REUTERS: REI, the camping and outdoor sports equipment retailer, was accused on Wednesday of dozens of violations of U.S. labor law at eight retail stores that have unionized since last year.

Workers at stores in New York, California, Chicago and Boston, among others, filed a total of 80 complaints with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking to force the company to bargain with their unions.

The complaints claim that REI has retaliated against pro-union workers, restructured jobs and changed working conditions without input from the unions, as well as stalled bargaining with unions that won elections at the stores.

Read the Full Article at Reuters

REI Workers Take Nationwide Legal Action Against Employer

REI Gets Hit with 80 Federal Labor Charges Showing Pattern of Egregious and Pervasive Anti-Worker Behavior

November 15th 2023 — Washington, D.C. – Today, unionized REI workers with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), filed coordinated, nationwide unfair labor practice charges against their employer, Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), over the company’s bad faith bargaining practices and unilateral workplace changes that show a pattern of egregious anti-union behavior, emotional manipulation, and retaliatory actions against workers, such as firings, changes to work schedules, and disciplinary practices. Workers from all eight unionized REI locations filed charges with their regional National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) offices. 

Clare Davis, (She/Her), a Bike and Snow Shop Senior Mechanic at the Berkeley, Calif. REI said the following: 

“Today, unionized REI workers from across the country stood up and said enough is enough. We will not sit by as management systematically spreads misinformation, subjects employees to emotional manipulation, and commits clear violations of federal labor law. Current leadership has abandoned the vision of the founders who truly lived REI’s progressive values and love for the outdoors. The workers at REI are keeping that vision alive with our hard work, expertise, community service, and yes, by forming a union. Despite the onslaught of union-busting tactics, we will keep organizing and winning elections. When we stand together, we win.”

Read the Full Press Release Here

At REI, a Progressive Company Warns That Unionization Is Bad for Vibes

Employees at the member-owned co-op have voted to unionize at several locations—and they’ve also accused the company of trying to stop them from organizing.

November 15th 2023 — BLOOMBERG: Last year, during a mandatory meeting of employees at a Manhattan REI store, a manager ticked off a list of what he called “serious red flags” about the union trying to organize the company’s employees. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) has suffered a decline in membership and revenue, he said, which should be concerning. What’s more, he said, “they’ve allocated barely any revenue to social impact,” according to an audio recording of the gathering reviewed by Bloomberg Businessweek. “Compare that to our $6.3 million to nonprofit partners in 2021 alone.”

Some employees found that criticism strange: In their eyes, the union itself is a social impact organization, one that helps advance the sort of values that drew them to work at REI in the first place. “We are living the co-op values by doing this,” says one of them, Claire Chang. “Coming together to unionize as workers is 100% aligned with what REI says they are.”


“One thing is absolutely clear: it’s time for REI to be held accountable and live up to its supposed progressive values,” said Clare Davis (she/her), Berkeley REI worker and union bargaining committee member. “Management’s refusal to comply with basic labor law, while simultaneously choosing to unlawfully lay off some of their most loyal workers is crushing to those of us who believed in REI’s vision. Today, we stand together in support of our fellow workers at all REI stores across the nation who unjustly lost their livelihood as a result of management’s actions.”

Read the Full Article Here

REI Workers Take Coordinated Action in Response to Unlawful, Unilateral Changes to Working Conditions

Unionized REI Workers File National Unfair Labor Practice Charge Following Company-Wide Mass Layoffs, Worker Walkouts

October 30th 2023 — Washington, D.C. –  REI workers, represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)/Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), held coordinated actions across eight states this past weekend in response to the retailer’s decision to unilaterally restructure jobs and working conditions in all of its stores. REI failed to meet its legal responsibility to negotiate with the union before implementing these changes, and as a result, unionized workers also filed a national Unfair Labor Practice charge today with the National Labor Relations Board. 

“I was shocked to hear a scripted dismissal from REI after being promoted to a lead position as a direct result of my work ethic and commitment to REI’s core values,” said Em Beckett (she/they), REI Knoxville Sales Lead who was laid off. “My heart goes out to the other dedicated sales leads, many of whom spent decades at the Co-op developing extensive product knowledge and passionate customer service. Since I worked at a non-union store, there is no legal recourse available to me and the countless others who want to hold REI accountable to the co-op way we actually believed in.”

Read the Full Press Release Here

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