This year, workers from around the country in a variety of industries joined our union family for a better life.
In 2022, our union celebrated a few “first ever” organizing wins, including bookstore workers at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C. and Half Price Books in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota, which is part of the national Half Price Books Workers United campaign. Cannabis workers in Ohio, Michigan and Missouri made history by being the first cannabis workers in their respective states to unionize, and REI workers in New York City and Berkeley Calif., made history by becoming the first and second REI stores to unionize as part of the UFCW’s national REI campaign. We also organized more workers outside of our traditional industries, including transportation workers in Maryland, nonprofit workers in Massachusetts, and animal welfare workers in Delaware.
In March, Claire Chang and her colleagues at the REI SoHo Co-op store in New York City made history by joining the RWDSU/UFCW and becoming the first unionized REI store in the country.
These new members, who are employed as full- and part-time sales, technical, visual presentation, and shipping and receiving specialists, as well as certified technicians, and operations, sales, and shipping and receiving leads, were subjected to a union busting campaign that included captive audience meetings, a halt on promotional opportunities, and a union busting podcast. In spite of these tactics, these workers stood together to make REI the inclusive, progressive workplace it claims to be by joining the RWDSU/UFCW.
“I am proud to be here in this moment with my coworkers at REI SoHo as a part of this new wave of unionization efforts that is sweeping the nation,” said Chang. “As members of the RWDSU, we know we will be able to harness our collective strength to advocate for a more equitable, safe, and enriching work environment.”
Michael and his colleagues at the Lume Cannabis Co. dispensary in Monroe, Mich., joined UFCW Local 876 in August. Lume Cannabis Co. is the largest cannabis company in Michigan, and workers at this store were the first unit of Lume workers to unionize.
“Unions built southeast Michigan and we’re honored to be the newest part of the rebuilding effort,” said Michael, who is a “luminary” at the dispensary. “A unionized Lume means better working conditions for employees, better relationships between the store and corporate management, and an improved experience for cannabis enthusiasts.”
In September, Mary Condon, along with her colleagues at Half Price Books east Louisville, Ky., joined UFCW Local 227. This organizing win is part of the national Half Price Books Workers United campaign.
These new members of our union family understand the benefits of unionizing and are looking forward to negotiating their first union contract.
“I wanted a union for my co-workers and myself to have a say in the business we work so hard for every day,” said Condon. “We deserve a seat at the table, and a place for our ideas not only to be heard, but for us to negotiate their implementation.”
Here are the organizing victories that appeared in OnPoint this year: