Workers at a REI Store in Manhattan Looking to Form a Retailer’s Only Union

Employees at a REI store in Manhattan filed to run in a union election on Friday, making the outdoor clothing and equipment retailer the latest prominent service-industry employer that workers dynamic has sought to merge.

Amazon employees in Bessemer, Ala., refuse a union in an election last year, although the National Labor Relations Board then throw resultsciting the inadequacy of a part of the company and ordering a new election starting next month.

In December, workers at two Starbucks stores in Buffalo Vote to unify, making them the only company-owned Starbucks location in the country with an alliance. Employees of about 20 other Starbucks have since applied for union elections.

The filing at the REI store in SoHo asked the labor council to hold an election with the participation of approximately 115 employees, who are seeking to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Stores Alliance. department store, the same union that oversaw the union campaign at the Amazon warehouse in Alabama.

In addition to filing for election, REI officers requested voluntary recognition of their union, which would make a vote unnecessary.

Like StarbucksREI, a consumer cooperative comprised of customers who buy a lifetime membership for $20, builds a progressive image. REI’s website speak that the cooperative believes in “putting goals before profits” and investing more than 70% of its profits “back to the outdoor community” through initiatives such as dividends to members and employee profit sharing.

The website also says REI is closing all of its approximately 170 stores, none of which are currently union stores, on Black Friday to allow employees to spend the day with family and friends.

The retailer has more than 15,000 employees in the United States, compared with more than 230,000 at about 9,000 Starbucks-owned US locations in the United States.

In a statement, Graham Gale, an employee who joined the union at the SoHo REI store, said the campaign was in part a response to a “tangible shift in workplace culture that seems to be happening” does not match the values ​​that have brought most of us here. ”

The statement also pointed to “the new struggle facing unsafe working conditions during a global pandemic.”

In a subsequent text, Mx. Gale, who prefers gender-neutral polite titles and pronouns, said REI has refused to bring back some longtime employees who have been outspoken about concerns at work. job after retailer Temporarily closed its stores in 2020.

Since the start of the pandemic, some REI employees have criticized the retailer for what it says are insufficient safety protocols, including lack of transparency through which the employees tested positive for Covid and decided loosen its face covering policy. The retailer said it was following relevant guidance from federal and state health agencies, but it had tweaked some policies because of criticism.

Responding to the union’s campaign in Manhattan, REI said in a statement: “We respect the right of employees to speak and act for what they believe in – and that includes the right of employees to choose choose or refuse to represent the union. However, we do not believe that cooperation between the co-op and its employees is necessary or beneficial.”

The statement goes on to say that the cooperative has committed to working with employees at the SoHo store to address their concerns.

Despite organizing efforts at companies like Amazon and Starbucks last year, union membership decline to 10.3 percent workforce, matching the lowest figure on Department of Labor records dating back to 1983. Workers at a REI Store in Manhattan Looking to Form a Retailer’s Only Union

Fry Electronics Team

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