DURHAM, NC – Today, REI Durham workers, organizing with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) Local 1208, are walking out of the REI Durham store location and staging an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike.
The REI Durham workers will strike and be in front of the store at 1:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 4, 2023.
The ULP charge is filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against REI Co-Op on behalf of the Durham workers citing illegal discipline of workers who are involved in the union organization efforts. The filing makes clear that REI Co-Op has violated workers’ rights by placing a worker who was publicly involved in protected organizing efforts on “administrative leave” without clear information about his status.
In addition to calling on the company to reinstate their coworker, workers are also calling on REI Co-Op to honor their stated values of democracy and transparency and cease manipulating the election process.
The ULP Strike comes days after the Raleigh-Durham community rallied around the REI Durham workers. Workers at the store have repeatedly called on REI Co-Op to sign the stipulated agreement brokered by the NLRB, which would allow the REI Durham workers to move forward with their lawfully required union election process. Up until this point, the REI Co-Op has engaged in egregious interference in the union election and has refused to sign the finalized stipulated agreement.
“We’re organizing this union because we love REI and want to make it a better workplace, one that lives up to its own values, and protects all of us at work,” said Alice Bennett, an REI Durham Organizing Committee Member, speaking for the group. “Now, our coworkers are facing retaliation and unlawful discipline just because they want to have a voice at REI. We’re calling on REI Co-Op to stop these unfair labor practices, sign the stipulated agreement, and let all of us at REI Durham vote.”
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 was the first location in the South to file for union representation and was the seventh of eight REI stores 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.
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.