DURHAM, NC – Today, REI Durham union leaders, alongside the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) Local 1208, gathered outside of the REI Durham location with local community leaders to share more information on their unionization efforts and garner community support ahead of their union election. Together, they are calling on REI to sign the proposed NLRB election agreement and let Durham workers vote.
The union leaders were joined by Durham City Councilwoman Jillian Johnson, County Commissioner Nida Allam, and Charlotte Mayor Pro-Tem and candidate for North Carolina Labor Commissioner Braxton Winston.
A recording of the speaking portion can be found here.
“We at REI Durham are a community of friends and coworkers and we have seen the store through a number of challenges,” said Megan Shan, REI Durham Organizing Committee Member. “I have been part of building this union at our store for about six months, and I can say without a doubt that it is a labor of love. We’re organizing here because we love our store, our coworkers, and our community and we want to build an REI that actually lives up to its values. It is time for us to advocate for ourselves. We want a seat at the table so we can’t be ignored or given any more empty promises. We are asking y’all as the community we live in, to please support us in forming our union!”
“It’s an exciting time for the labor movement, especially here in the South,” said Durham City Councilwoman Jillian Johnson. “There is nothing more inspiring to me than workers coming together with each other to make real change in their lives and in their family’s lives. As Councilwoman, I have been involved with the labor movement since I was 17 and I will always support workers standing up for themselves. I am proud to represent Durham in the City Council and stand with REI Durham workers unionizing.”
“In today’s economy, it is getting increasingly difficult for workers to thrive and for employers to retain employees,” said Charlotte Mayor Pro-Tem Braxton Winston. “Employers and workers must find ways to negotiate in good faith. Our community members rely on these relationships to work to ensure a positive quality of life.”
“REI workers in Durham have chosen to unionize for a better life and a better REI, and North Carolina’s labor movement stands with them,” said MaryBe McMillan, President of the North Carolina AFL-CIO. “We call on REI to live up to its progressive values and respect the freedom of REI workers to make their choice in a swift and fair election.”
After months of organizing, workers at the REI Durham location filed for their union election on April 13th and are asking for wages that match the rising costs of living, consistent scheduling, improved workplace safety, and job security. This is the first location in the South to file for union representation and the seventh REI in the country to do so. This store is part of a national wave of unionization efforts by workers to hold REI accountable to their stated values.
Durham REI workers joined their coworkers in cities across the country who participated in actions that engaged REI Co-Op members and customers at their own store locations today.
The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States. UFCW International represents 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org.