Beachwood REI store headed to union vote after walk-out
A union election for workers at the Beachwood REI is moving forward after they walked out Friday.
The workers say the outdoor gear company agreed to allow them to take a vote to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, after their job action Friday morning ahead of a National Labor Relations Board hearing.
John Ginter, a sales associate at the Beachwood REI, said he and his coworkers have a long list of demands in order to get better working conditions at the store. He said the pandemic has put extra challenges on him and his colleagues, as well.
"We are basically making demands that we have a livable wage, that we are able to live our lives outdoors, like REI's mission statement includes," he said. "So having a better work life balance, being able to care for ourselves and to increase benefits for employees across the spectrum, whether or not they are part time, full time, whatever that situation would be."
Ginter alleged REI has some "pretty rigid stipulations" with regard to which employees are eligible for benefits and accrual of sick time. He also said he believes his REI location is "not living up to our diversity, equity and inclusion statement."
REI's corporate office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment sent Friday afternoon. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union alleged that REI had claimed certain employees were not eligible for the vote, including sales leads and workers in the shop section of the store.
The company has previously said it supports it's employees' right to join a union, so long as they vote to do so.