Nearly 86% of employees at an REI store in Chicago, Ill. on Thursday voted in favor of unionizing their store, making the store the fourth location to do so.
The employees, which will be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), initially filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at the end of March. With this vote, the Chicago store joins three other REI stores — one in Berkeley, Calif., one in New York City’s Soho neighborhood and one in Cleveland, Ohio. — who have unionized their stores since 2022.
“I have never been more proud to work for REI and am inspired by the passion and courage of my fellow green vests who have taken part in any of this,” said Andrew Loveland, a Chicago REI employee and member of the organizing committee. “I look forward to shifting focus towards the next steps of bargaining with REI to help our team see more consistent hours and schedules to allow us to better plan our personal lives as well as hold REI accountable for the many promises and initiatives they have failed to uphold over the years.”
The union will represent about 60 workers in the store as they proceed through contract negotiations.
“REI believes in the right of every eligible employee to vote for or against union representation,” REI said in a statement. “We fully supported our Lincoln Park employees through the vote process and we will continue to support our employees going forward as they begin to navigate the collective bargaining process.”
The Chicago vote news comes during a broad surge in union activity in various REI stores across the country. Last month, stores in Chicago, Ill., Eugene, Ore. and Boston Mass. filed petitions for a union vote. And in March, employees at an REI store in Cleveland voted 27-12 in favor of unionizing their store, becoming the third REI location to do so.
This week, Durham REI workers went on strike to protest management’s response to their unionization efforts as they push for higher wages, scheduling improvements, more workplace safety and job security adjustments.