REI employees vote to unionize at Berkeley store

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Workers at an REI store in Berkeley, Calif., voted to form a union. The location is the second in the outdoor retailer’s portfolio of stores to do so after workers at a New York store unionized earlier this year.

According to the company, the initial tally shows 56 votes in favor of union representation by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 and 38 votes against unionization.

“As we have said throughout this process, REI believes in the right of every employee to vote for or against union representation,” REI said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive and posted on its site. website. “We have fully supported the voting process at Berkeley and will continue to support our employees in the future.”

REI employees are joining a movement of renewed energy around organizing in retail and other countries. This follows unionization votes at some Starbucks, Amazon and Apple stores.

In a petition earlier this year, after filing an election petition with the National Labor Relations Board, REI union organizers accused the retailer of “union busting” tactics.

“REI used classic union busting tactics designed to dissuade us from voting Union Yes,” the petition reads. “They told us that our relationship with management will have to change, that our existing benefits and pension will disappear and that a union representative will have to attend our reviews. They even told someone they would need union approval to go on vacation.

An employee involved in the Manhattan REI store’s organizing drive said in a press release earlier this year that the organizing effort was partly a response to “a tangible shift in workplace culture that doesn’t seem not align with the values ​​that have brought us the most here.

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