On August 25, workers at the REI store in Berkeley, Calif., joined UFCW Local 5, marking the second organizing win in the UFCW’s national REI campaign. The RWDSU/UFCW represents workers at the REI SoHo Co-op store in New York City, which was the first REI store in the country to become unionized.
The official vote, tallied by the National Labor Relations Board, was 56 ‘UNION YES’ to 38 NO. REI Berkeley workers publicly kicked off their unionization campaign in June and successfully filed for a union election after delivering a letter to management informing the company that a majority of the workers at the store had signed union authorization cards. The effort was widely supported by the community, and statements of solidarity included a resolution passed by the Berkeley City Council on June 28.
“Winning today’s vote could not be more exciting,” said REI Berkeley employee Bryn Lewin-Ofell (they/them). “We can’t wait for our store to come together and take the next step of this journey, where we get to make the changes that we need to see in our store. If you are an REI worker and you’re thinking about unionizing, get in touch with us. We’ve got your backs!”
“This opportunity to have a voice in my work world gives me great hope for all my other green vests at REI and retail workers nationally,” said REI Berkeley employee Sharon Delap (she/her). “Improving our daily experience and having our needs met by management with a union contract will help us better serve our REI community.”
“UFCW Local 5 is overjoyed to welcome our newest members from REI Berkeley,” said UFCW Local 5 President John Nunes (he/him). “These workers have chosen to band together to fight for the workplace they deserve. Their efforts, together with their colleagues in New York who organized with the RWDSU/UFCW and every REI worker who is inspired to organize their own stores, will transform REI for the better. As we move to the bargaining phase of this process, UFCW Local 5 will support these members every step of the way.”
“By winning today’s vote, REI workers in Berkeley have shown for a second time that REI workers are ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and fight for the future they deserve,” said UFCW International Vice President and National Strategic Retail Department Director Dave Young (he/him). “Their victory, just like REI Soho’s victory in New York, will serve as an inspiration for their colleagues across the country. Today, the UFCW is ready to help those workers build successful organizing campaigns wherever there is interest and help them fight for a stronger future together.”
REI workers are organizing with the UFCW and RWDSU nationally at a variety of locations. If your local union is interested in getting involved with this campaign, please contact your Region Director before engaging REI workers. You can learn more about the UFCW’s REI campaign here.