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Workers at an REI store in Berkeley, California, have voted to form a union. The location is the second in the outdoor retailer’s store portfolio to do so after workers at a New York store unionized earlier this year. 

According to the company, the initial tally shows 56 votes in support of union representation by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, and 38 votes against unionizing. 

“As we have said throughout this process, REI believes in the right of every employee to vote for or against union representation,” REI said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive and posted on its website. “We fully supported the vote process in Berkeley and will continue to support our employees going forward.”

The REI employees join a movement of renewed energy around labor organizing in retail and other countries. It follows votes over unionizing at some Starbucks, Amazon and Apple locations.

In a petition earlier this year, after filing for an election with the National Labor Relations Board, the REI union organizers accused the retailer of “union-busting” tactics. 

“REI has been using textbook union-busting tactics meant to scare us out of voting Union Yes,” the petition stated. “They’ve told us our relationship with management will have to change, our existing benefits and retirement will go away, and a union representative will be required to attend our reviews. They even told someone that they would need the union’s approval to go on vacation.”

An employee involved with the unionization drive at REI’s Manhattan store said in a statement to press earlier this year that organization effort was partly a response to “a tangible shift in the culture at work that doesn’t seem to align with the values that brought most of us here.”



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