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REI faces allegations of labor law violations at unionized stores

REI store exterior and logo

Outdoor retailer REI has been accused of multiple labor law violations at eight unionized stores across the US.

Employees from these stores have submitted 80 complaints to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The complaint says REI engaged in retaliatory actions against pro-union workers.

The stores are in New York, California, Chicago, and Boston. 

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REI repeatedly restructured jobs, altered working conditions without union input, and stalled negotiations with the successfully elected unions.

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The company operates around 180 stores with 15,000 employees nationwide.

REI said: “We are committed and engaged in good-faith bargaining with stores that have chosen union representation and will continue to participate fully in the negotiating process.”

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The dispute is part of a national trend of labor organizing started during the pandemic.

Starbucks baristas, Amazon warehouse workers, employees of several video game makers, and Apple retail workers have significantly organized.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union represent the affected REI stores. 

Employees assert their right to choose union representation freely.

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Anni Saludo, a sales specialist at an REI store in Durham, North Carolina, said: “Instead of acknowledging our collective voice and our right to form a union, we faced strong opposition from management in the form of retaliation, misinformation, and disregard for basic labor law.”

The complaints follow recent walkouts by REI employees in Chicago, Boston, and Minnesota, protesting layoffs and changes to working conditions. 

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