FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 4, 2023
Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259
REI CHICAGO WORKERS VOTE OVERWHELMINGLY TO JOIN THE RETAIL, WHOLESALE AND DEPARTMENT STORE UNION
Workers Form Fourth REI Store Union
(CHICAGO, IL) – Tonight, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced that, by an overwhelming majority vote of nearly 84%, workers at REI, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois, have voted to join the RWDSU, making this the fourth unionized REI store in the nation.
“I am beyond excited at the results of the vote to officially make REI Chicago a union store. I have never been more proud to work for REI and am inspired by the passion and courage of my fellow green vests who have taken part in any of this. I look forward to shifting focus towards the next steps of bargaining with REI to help our team see more consistent hours and schedules to allow us to better plan our personal lives as well as hold REI accountable for the many promises and initiatives they have failed to uphold over the years.,” said Andrew Loveland, Member of the REI Chicago Organizing Committee and Retail Specialist at REI.
“This win for us is a win for all REI employees and I’m so proud and full of love for our store’s whole team. This is a win for the people who REI has unfairly fired, denied transfers and promotions to, denied the opportunity to flourish in the proper department to and so many other grievances. We the workers of REI Chicago in the neighborhood of Lincoln Park all deserve to be paid a living wage with consistent predictable hours for the expert advice we provide to the community and have a say in the day to day running of our store. We want the Co-Op to be successful and we want to truly share in that success,” said Sarah Diefenbach, Member of the REI Chicago Organizing Committee and Visual Sales Lead at REI.
“Today, REI Workers have sent a message to working people everywhere, and especially to REI workers around the nation – you can come together and organize so that your voice will be heard and must be taken seriously by your employer. Today, you have won your legal right to a real seat at the table with your employer. United with other REI workers who are organizing into unions around the country, we will have the strength to negotiate a strong contract. RWDSU is proud to welcome you into our union family,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
The vote to unionize REI Chicago was conducted by an in-person secret ballot vote on-site at the store on May 4, 2023, overseen by the Chicago office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The RWDSU will represent approximately 60 workers at the outdoor sports equipment company in contract negotiations, which will commence this year. The store currently operates under its full capacity, potentially increasing that number. The workers in the proposed bargaining unit include 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.
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The REI Union Chicago is an organizing campaign of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). For more information about the union election at REI in Chicago, please visit Twitter: @REIUnionChicago or www.rwdsu.org.