Four months after REI workers filed a nationwide complaint that the outdoors retailer had refused to bargain in good faith at its nine unionized stores, the REI union publicly outlined a list of demands that include calling the executive back to the bargaining table.

The workers’ 10-point national platform, which its workers unveiled on March 6, centers on job security, a living wage, guaranteed hours, sick pay and minimum staffing levels, among others.

The union hopes to put pressure on REI to stop delaying bargaining. The flagship Soho location, which was the first store to organize, has been in negotiations for two years for a first-time contract, but workers say they are stuck at square one. When REI changed its legal representation a year into bargaining, union members said the new legal team scrapped tentative agreements they had made.

Zoe Dunmire, a worker at the SoHo store, said that her store was focused on guaranteed minimum hours and a living wage that reflects the workers’ expertise.

“Without a living wage and the money that we need to pay for our rent in a very expensive city, and guaranteed minimum hours to ensure that we are working enough to afford that as well, it would definitely ease some tensions in our mind,” she said.

The unionized REI workers from the nine stores affiliated with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), first coordinated together to file the unfair labor charges in November. The charges allege bad faith bargaining practices and workplace changes that show a pattern of practices like firings, changes to work schedule and disciplinary practices.

“We hoped that this would be kind of a turning point where REI would start coming to the table in a fair and a meaningful way,” said Dunmire. But following the charges, REI replaced its legal representation with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, the firm that has represented Amazon in labor cases.

Since Morgan Lewis took over, members said company decision makers stopped coming to the bargaining table, which holds up progress because on any given day the company is unable to give the union a same-day response to their proposals.

“This has just become like a war of attrition,” said Victor Delgado, an employee at the Berkeley store.

On March 7, the workers marched across the country to conclude weeks of outdoor activities the union organized as forms of protest against what they deem as union-busting. A group of workers from the national steering committee hiked to the company’s headquarters Issaquah, Washington and delivered the list of the demands. An REI spokesperson said ​​the company is “committed to and will always negotiate in good faith with our stores that have chosen union representation.”


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