Store #13 Workers Ready for Change

Les Hatton, Regional Manager of the Downtown Portland Store

Over the last few months, our store has systematically called in part-time staff, largely uninsured through REI, and pressured us to work full-time or overtime hours. Many of us who have provided years of expertise and passion for REI's members have been laid off despite having full availability and official full-time status. We are working with customers in the store, employee areas so narrow social distancing is almost impossible, and are receiving NO hazard pay to reward our sacrifice.Still more of us feel unsafe with the way the store is conducting business and we’re afraid to speak up. The actions of the Co-op don’t match the words it’s feeding to members and workers.

That ends today. For us, holding ourselves to a higher standard is more than a catchphrase -- it's a value worth fighting for. Sign this petition and share it with your friends and coworkers from our store, as well as any other members of this Co-op that want to see REI treat its workers fairly. We plan to hold REI's corporate decision makers to account for the way we have been treated these last few months. We are stronger together, and our safety, respect, and dedication to this store are worth fighting for.

Update: we had a meeting with Les Hatton, the regional manager of our store. He flatly refused to work with our group on any one of these demands.

He said he feels like our workforce doesn't deserve hazard pay, and that he hadn't heard enough people calling for it to warrant his attention.

He said us having a direct say in how safety precautions are enforced in our store didn't align with our company's interests.

He claimed that maintaining our coworkers' job security by extending our furlough amounted to "kicking the can down the road," and that it was too expensive (despite the fact that furloughed employees cost a business virtually nothing).

He asserted that the layoffs were based on skillset, performance, and availability, ignoring the fact that a significant chunk of our coworkers laid off were full-time, had years of training in multiple departments, and were covered by REI's health insurance.

When demands fall on deaf ears, you must demand them louder.

To: Les Hatton, Regional Manager of the Downtown Portland Store
From: [Your Name]

We, the workers and newly ex-workers of the Downtown Portland REI store, demand:

1. Workers in the store receive hazard pay immediately going forward, and back-pay for any shifts worked since the store reopened

2. Safety precautions in the store be improved and enacted democratically by a vote of the workers

3. Immediate rehire of, or offer of extended furlough to, all workers laid off or pressured to resign since the COVID shutdown

4. Full transparency of criteria used to decide any future terminations, lay offs, or other acts directly affecting our job security

We demand that you, Les Hatton, either grant these demands or commit to helping us achieve them by July 25th, 2020

Our store has kept people who have given years of passion and love to this store in the dark for months only to lay us off. Our store has called part-time workers, who REI doesn’t provide health insurance for, in to work and pressured us to work full-time or overtime hours. We were called in to work with sometimes as little as two days notice, with no mind paid to our availability, and made us feel like we had to agree or lose our jobs. Some of us were being worked six or even seven days a week while at the same time others of us that have full availability and are willing to work were being laid off. There are a large number of us that don’t feel safe with customers in the store at all, much less with the lax mask rules being required of them currently. We are working a customer facing job with employee only areas so narrow that proper social distancing is a virtual impossibility DURING A HEALTH CRISIS, and are being given no hazard pay to reward our sacrifice. This ends now.

We are campers, hikers, and climbers. We are runners, bikers, and every flavor of gnar shredders. We are the outdoor enthusiasts and experts that are the backbone of this Co-op, and we are the reason members love shopping at this store. We are the reason this store has posted record profits virtually every year it has existed. We are the people who exemplify the Co-op Way. We are members of REI, the same as you, Eric Artz, and the Board of Directors.

We demand to be treated accordingly.