May 24, 2024 | News Story

REI Union SoHo Workers Rally with Labor Groups & Co-Op Members Outside Flagship NYC Store Demanding REI Reach a Union Contract by End of 2024 Amid Company’s Largest Annual Sale

Yesterday, during the middle of REI’s annual Anniversary Sale, members of REI Union SoHo represented by RWDSU rallied in protest of REI’s failure to bargain a contract in good faith. Joined by RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum and fellow union members, NYC Council Member Christopher Marte, NYC Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, NYC Council Member Chi Ossé, NYC CLC President Vincent Alvarez and other elected leaders and workers from across New York’s labor movement, REI SoHo workers rallied and demanded REI agree to reach a fair contract by the end of 2024.

REI’s highly profitable annual Anniversary Sale lasts from May 17-27. While the company stands to potentially bring in millions if not hundreds of millions, their workers will continue to struggle to make rent, buy groceries, and commute to their low paying, sometimes unsafe jobs. Workers face a litany of other issues at the SoHo, New York store they’re hoping to remedy in contract negotiations, which began in June 2022. The worker-led bargaining committee has met ten times at the table since the company changed to new attorneys from the notoriously anti-union law firm, Morgan Lewis, LLP in June 2023, which is a significant departure from the slightly more productive 24 sessions they had the year before with the prior attorneys. All in, the mind-boggling 34 sessions have yielded little in the way of significant tentative agreements between the parties. Workers at REI Union SoHo, who were withheld routine merit and other pay increases by the company, are one of ten unionized stores across the country where contract negotiations remain similarly stalled. They have gone the longest without necessary pay increases, having been denied across the board pay hikes for non-Union REI workers since they organized in March of 2022.

“As a proud green vest, I don't take this action lightly. When my coworkers elected me to our bargaining committee, I never thought we'd still be fighting for a first contract two years later. I took our demand to settle a fair contract to REI's Issaquah headquarters and now I'm here taking it to the streets of Soho. We call on REI to end their bad faith bargaining tactics, stop their unlawful behavior and commit to settling our contract this year. Help us get back to focusing on our members and guests, and enjoying a life outside,” said REI SoHo Senior Sales Specialist and Bargaining Committee member Steve Buckley. Read more here, follow the @REIunion here, and click here to tell the REI Board to stop union busting and bargain a fair contract!