Berkeley REI Workers Organize with Local 5

REI Union Berkeley members holding placards

Nearly 100 employees at the REI store in Berkeley have taken the first step in winning a UFCW Local 5 union contract.

Workers delivered a letter to management on June 20 informing the company that a majority of them had signed union authorization cards and requesting that REI voluntarily recognize their choice and agree to recognize and bargain with Local 5. On the same day, the union filed a representation petition on behalf of the workers with the National Labor Relations Board. Absent voluntary recognition, the NLRB will conduct a secret ballot election in the coming weeks.

In their letter the employees called on the company to avoid a divisive election campaign but explained that whatever approach the company takes they are moving forward.

“Either way, following in the footsteps of our colleagues at the SoHo store and workers at Starbucks, Apple, Amazon and dozens of other companies, we are committed to enhancing the success of REI by assuring that employees have a collective voice and a say in the decisions and policies that affect us at the workplace,” read the letter.

Employee Hannah Smith summed up the spirit of her coworkers explaining that “I’m pro-union because I want to build a workplace that serves all my coworkers, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, social class, or familial status. I want our store to unionize so we can bring our voices together to fight for the working conditions and pay that we deserve.”