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REI Workers in Manhattan File to Form Company’s First Union

Workers at an REI store in New York City filed to form a union among the location’s 116 employees on Friday. If the effort is successful, the store would be the first of the outdoor recreation equipment company’s 168 locations and 15,000 employees to unionize.

The workers have filed for representation by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). They have also requested voluntary recognition of the union by their employer, which would bypass the need for a vote.

It’s unlikely that the company will simply allow the workers to unionize without an election, however. In response to the filing, the company said it stands against unionization for their employees.

“We respect the rights of our employees to speak and act for what they believe – and that includes the rights of employees to choose or refuse union representation,” the company said in a statement. “However, we do not believe placing a union between the co-op and its employees is needed or beneficial.”

Read the rest at Truthout



Why do companies always position unions as "between management and its employees"? Is that an effective way to try to spin unions as ineffective?

I don't think having a boss between me and my work is "needed or beneficial", but companies don't ever seem to want to fight against that particular inefficiency.

Ryan Strempke-Durgin

I support worker's rights to organize. The only true way that workers can have a voice is through a unified front. Therefore, REI employees should unionize and be able to make decisions about their working conditions.

James A Clark Jr

I support you all! I was a union remember in UAW 137, in Greenville Michigan from May 1999 to Sept 2005 working for Electrolux aka Frigidaire making refrigerators until Electrolux moved the factory to Mexico. It was one of the best jobs I had. I learned a lot from the union and I carry it with me today!

Keith Walsh

NO ONE, and NO COMPANY who cares about it's employees should reject or attempt to prevent those employees from unionizing....

Kathleen Riordan

The boss never thinks a union should come between its own power & the potential power of its workers.
It's a long trek--hang in!

Allan Weiss

You speak with "Forked Tongue." You say it is "unlikely" that the company will allow workers to unionize, on one hand, and then say that they (the employees) indeed have the right to join or refuse union representation. What you have said is that although the employees have the right to unionize, the company will not allow it.

Christine Fearing

Unionization is good for employees. Perhaps not for those at the top of an organization, but those at the top aren’t on the front lines.

Donna Robin Lippman

What a relief to think of shopping in a store where the workers have a seat at the table!

Libby E Berman

Unionizing brought us the weekend. It secures employee rights. Every business should be unionized.

Carol Driscoll

As an REI customer, I say REI Workers have every right to join a Union. The statement "However, we do not believe placing a union between the co-op and its employees is needed or beneficial." Would you grant that this statement reflects management's position? Not the position of the workers? Carol Driscoll


Yeah team! Get after it im stoked that you are doing this and I hope it inspires people to do the same!

Diana M

So happy for the REI workers' efforts! I totally support their efforts to unionize. It is they who always help me when I'm there for my outdoor needs; It is they who should have a voice in their working conditions and be treated fairly for what they do.

Matt Noyes

REI should voluntarily recognize the union and start bargaining in good faith. Talk about respecting workers' right to organize (which is a legal right already) is just cover.

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