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    Jan 30, 2023

    REI SEEKS DELAY OF CLEVELAND, OHIO WORKERS UNION ELECTION

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 30, 2023 Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259 REI SEEKS DELAY OF CLEVELAND, OHIO WORKERS UNION ELECTION - CONTRARY TO ITS ACTIONS DURING THE ELECTIONS IN ITS NEW YORK CITY AND BERKELEY, CA STORES, COMPANY DEMANDS REMOVAL OF BARGAINING UNIT CLASSIFICATIONS, WHICH COMPRISE OVER HALF OF THE NLRA ELIGIBLE VOTERS (CLEVELAND, OH) – Late last week, REI, Inc. refused to reach a Stipulated Agreement with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) to move ahead with a union election at its store in Beachwood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. The refusal means the election cannot proceed swiftly, and as such, the Cleveland office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has set a hearing to begin on Friday, February 3, 2023. The hearing process can prove to be a lengthy distraction and delay, stifling workers' voices, something workers did not have to endure during the prior two REI, Inc. union elections. The Union seeks to represent all non-supervisory employees at the store, a presumptively appropriate bargaining unit. But REI has put forth meritless assertions to delay the election. First, REI claims that sales leads are supervisors under the law and therefore cannot unionize; second, that workers in the shop section of the store do not share a community of interest with the store’s retail workers; and third, that certain workers are “casual” employees and shouldn’t vote.  RWDSU vehemently disagrees with REI’s objections. It is especially galling because, as the Company unnecessarily fights RWDSU in Ohio, it is currently bargaining contracts with workers holding these same classifications at the SoHo, New York and Berkley, California stores. REI’s hypocrisy is union-busting plain and simple and is a meek attempt to exclude more than half of the proposed bargaining unit to be eligible to vote. REI also seeks to dismiss the Union’s election petition outright, citing an NLRB case from 1962 involving a union election in the South where the employer made inflammatory racial appeals against unionization. How this has any relationship to the Union’s petition in Ohio in 2023 is anyone’s guess, but RWDSU is incensed that REI would make such an implication in its NLRB filing and minimize both the racial and labor struggles in the South during that time period. “REI, Inc.’s request to bar clearly eligible workers from voting for their union is union busting on its face. And it’s nothing but a feeble attempt to delay the union election – period. It cannot be clearer that REI’s motion to remove previously eligible job classifications from this election only seeks to silence workers' voices. And these are not just any workers’ voices, these are the voices of workers with the same job classifications who are already being heard at bargaining tables on both coasts. You cannot be in support of union elections and freedom of speech, and then bar more than half of your workers from voting. Let the workers at REI in Ohio have the same opportunity you gave workers on the coasts. Let workers vote, and stop these baseless delay tactics,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).  REI, Inc. still has time to reach a Stipulated Agreement with the RWDSU before the hearing begins. The Union will continue to seek a Stipulated Agreement in order for workers to swiftly have their voices heard, without delay. It must be emphasized that REI has reached stipulated election agreements at two other stores prior to the Union’s petition in Ohio. ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:  The worker-led unionization effort in the Beachwood suburb of Cleveland, Ohio has been underway for well over a year, but workers cite the overwhelming win at REI, Inc. in SoHo, New York as having put the “battery in our backs” to push to a majority of card signers and file for election. On January 11, 2023, a delegation of REI, Inc. workers at the Ohio store formally filed for a union election with Region 8 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking representation with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). This came on the heels of two stores winning their union elections in both the flagship SoHo, New York and in Berkeley, California stores. Despite REI, Inc.'s every effort to union bust coast-to-coast, workers yet again filed for a union election in Ohio.  Workers at the Ohio store hoped they wouldn't need to endure the same union busting campaign their colleagues on the coasts did, but union busting has already begun at the store, with workers being asked to join meetings as much as twice a day.  When successful, the RWDSU will represent approximately 55 current NLRA eligible workers in the Beachwood, Ohio store in contract negotiations. The store currently operates at a 60% staffing level of its full capacity, potentially increasing that number to over 70. The Union seeks to represent all non-supervisory employees at the store, which includes all full- and part-time sales specialists, technical specialists, visual presentation specialists, shipping and receiving specialists, certified technicians and mechanics, operations leads, sales leads, and shipping and receiving leads. Unless the Union and REI reach an election agreement, the Cleveland office of the NLRB will hold a hearing at 10 AM ET on February 3, 2023 by Zoom. Hearings are open to the public and members of the media can request viewing access from the NLRB’s Office of Public Information. # # # The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) represents 100,000 members throughout the United States, including 45,000 in New York State. The RWDSU is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). For more information, please visit our website at www.rwdsu.org, Facebook:/RWDSU.UFCW Twitter:@RWDSU.  
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    Jan 13, 2023

    RWDSU STATEMENT ON DHS SECRETARY MAYORKAS ANNOUNCEMENT OF ENHANCED PROCEDURES FOR IMMIGRANT WORKER PROTECTIONS

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 13, 2023 Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259 RWDSU STATEMENT ON DHS SECRETARY MAYORKAS ANNOUNCEMENT OF ENHANCED PROCEDURES FOR IMMIGRANT WORKER PROTECTIONS “Today’s announcement by Secretary Mayorkas is welcome news. Immigrant workers are critical to the success of our economy, yet they are among those who suffer the most exploitation and abuse at work, and then suffer further from intimidation and retaliation when they stand up for their rights. These procedures for labor agencies to use to support workers in need of greater protections will allow workers to help with agency investigations without fear of threats and retaliation,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). # # # The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) represents 100,000 members throughout the United States. The RWDSU is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). For more information, please visit our website at www.rwdsu.org, Facebook:/RWDSU.UFCW Twitter:@RWDSU.  
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