Workers at the REI Co-op in Berkeley, California are voting on union recognition on Aug. 3. They may soon become the second unionized REI after the SoHo, New York City location won their union election in March. The vote comes after many months of organizing, with workers asking REI on June 24 to voluntarily recognize their intent to organize with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5.
Worker organizers told Liberation News that a large motivation behind the union drive is to hold the company to the values it publicly states. REI Co-op is a consumer co-op, with the customers becoming members and owning the company. REI publicly treats its members warmly, but this is not extended to its workers. Some workers have precarious housing, and all are experiencing the impacts of inflation and the potential of another recession.
For the worker organizers, providing a living wage, pay transparency and better benefits for full-and-part time employees all align with REI’s public facing values.