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Season 5, Episode 102

REI Union members show solidarity during company’s anniversary sale

REI Union


Guest Name:

Jennifer Gill

Guest Website:

REI Union 

Guest Social Media:





Supportive Documents:

Jennifer Gill, a worker organizer, bargaining committee member and organizing committee member with REI Union Cleveland—affiliated with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union—joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the ongoing negotiations with REI. Gill also discussed the days of action workers took during the store's anniversary sale and the solidarity shown by elected officials and Local unions.

Gill discussed how she went from being a teacher at the beginning of the pandemic to a worker at REI, as well as a union organizer and negotiating committee member. She talked about the workplace issues that led to the organizing campaign during the pandemic and how she was approached to become an organizer. Management’s poor communication and a lack of worker health concerns were some of the biggest motivators for the workers at REI Cleveland. The workers chose to unionize with a 69 percent approval vote despite the anti-union efforts from their employer.

The contract negotiations have been ongoing, and Gill discussed how the anti-union law firm hired by REI has been handling the negotiations. Another nine locations have also voted to unionize with RWDSU. Similar to what is happening in Cleveland, the other locations attempting to reach a first contract are complaining of bad-faith bargaining by REI. At the location in Chicago, for example, Gill talked about the strike action from workers this past weekend that shut down the location during REI’s Anniversary Sale. Along with local elected officials and unions from the Chicagoland area, the workers stood together to raise awareness of REI’s bad-faith negotiations.

Chicago wasn’t the only location to hold a day of action during the Anniversary Sale, which will continue through Memorial Day. On May 20, a delegation of Cleveland elected officials hand-delivered a letter to management at the REI store in Beachwood, Ohio, which comes after U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown sent a letter earlier this month. Together with workers, REI Co-op Members and several Cleveland area union members, the delegation joined the rally demanding REI management bargain in good faith. Gill said that until management begins to take the negotiations seriously, workers at the 10 REI locations will continue to take action during the Anniversary Sale.

Listen to the show above to hear more from Gill. To learn more about the situation and support striking workers, please visit OurREI.com.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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