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REI SOHO WORKERS VOTE OVERWHELMINGLY TO JOIN THE RETAIL, WHOLESALE AND DEPARTMENT STORE UNION
Workers Officially Form the First Union at Any REI Store
(NEW YORK, NY) – Today, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced that by an overwhelming majority vote of 86 percent, workers at the REI Co-Op in Manhattan, New York have voted to join the RWDSU, making REI SoHo the first unionized REI store in the nation. Despite enduring a union busting campaign that included captive audience meetings, a halt on promotional opportunities, and even a 25-minute union busting podcast, workers have stood together to make REI the inclusive, progressive workplace it claims to be through their union.
“I am proud to be here in this moment with my coworkers at REI SoHo as a part of this new wave of unionization efforts that is sweeping the nation. As members of the RWDSU, we know we will be able to harness our collective strength to advocate for a more equitable, safe, and enriching work environment. A union is necessary for many of us to achieve more stability and security in our lives which could allow for us to explore and play more outside of work! As green vests, we believe ‘a life outdoors is a life well lived’ and in order for that to be viable and accessible to us, we need to be at the bargaining table alongside REI leadership to work out a collective bargaining agreement that works for us. Hence, we’re hopeful that REI meets us in good faith during negotiations for our first contract, while keeping our co-op values in mind and applying them to workers, so we can all demonstrate that we really do go further…together!” said Claire Chang, Member of the REI SoHo Organizing Committee and Retail Sales Specialist-Visual at REI SoHo.
“History was made today! We’re excited to welcome the workers of REI SoHo into the RWDSU, marking the first-ever unionized REI store in the whole country. These workers have vast expertise in their field and have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to serve the outdoor community. They have stuck together through a horrendous union-busting campaign and have come out the other side stronger. The workers of REI SoHo are ready to negotiate a strong contract that will allow them to uphold the co-op’s progressive values while providing the top-notch service REI customers have come to expect. With a seat at the table, workers can make working at REI safe and sustainable for years to come,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
The vote to unionize REI SoHo was conducted by an in-person vote in the REI SoHo breakroom on March 2, 2022, by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The RWDSU will represent approximately 116 workers at the outdoor sports equipment company in contract negotiations, which will commence this year. The workers in the bargaining unit include all full- and part-time sales specialists, technical specialists, visual presentation specialists, shipping and receiving specialists, certified technicians, operations leads, sales leads, and shipping and receiving leads.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) represents 100,000 members throughout the United States. The RWDSU is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). For more information, please visit our website at www.rwdsu.org, Facebook:/RWDSU.UFCW Twitter:@RWDSU.
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