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.”