The new wave of unionization sweeping through American companies rolled on Thursday with the second REI store to form a union.
Employees at REI’s Berkeley, Calif., store voted today to form a union, making it the second location of the outdoor retail giant to unionize.
The newly formed union quickly announced the news on Twitter, starting with a single word: VICTORY.
A combination of full-time and part-time employees secured a majority vote of 56 to 38, according to a tally by the National Labor Relations Board. The employees will join the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, a 30,000-member labor union.
VICTORY: We voted and WE WON!
We, the workers at REI in Berkeley, are proud to announce we have voted YES to unionize with @ufcw5. The official vote, tallied by the National Labor Relations Board, was 56 to 38. pic.twitter.com/uX9teo1dDW
— REI Union Berkeley (@reiunionberk) August 25, 2022
REI responded with a statement that said it supported the employees’ decision.
“As we have said throughout this process, REI believes in the right of every employee to vote for or against union representation,” the company said in a statement following the vote count. “We fully supported the vote process in Berkeley and will continue to support our employees going forward.”
The statement arrives 5 months after a cadre of its New York employees formed the first union in the co-op’s history. In March, REI’s SoHo location unionized on March 2, in an 88-14 employee vote to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
In general, unions have grown quickly in 2022, especially in the outdoor industry. In April, Movement Crystal City in Arlington, Va., became the first climbing gym to unionize. A Lululemon store in the Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Georgetown also voted to unionize in July.
REI previously established its position on unions within the co-op when members voted to unionize in New York for the first time in REI’s history.
“[W]e do not believe placing a union between the co-op and its employees is needed or beneficial. We are, at our core, a cooperative. By definition, we do business differently; we are collaborative by nature, working toward common goals. We stand up for our shared values in all we do. And we measure our success by our positive impact on our employees, our members, society, and finally our business — in that order.”