In a time when companies are giving back to employees, the REI Co-op has elected to take away. Starting this month, hourly retail workers will be earning less than they expected for 2018. In February, annual merit reviews were given. Each employee was evaluated and placed into one of three performance categories: developing, solid contributor and leading performer. In previous years, hourly wages were increased by 1.5%, 3%, and 6% respectively for each tier. This year the percents were cut to .5%, 2.5% and 5%. Many employees are angered about these pay raise cuts. We have confirmed the news and the cuts are storewide.
To: REI Co-op CEO Jerry Stritzke & Board of Directors
Adopt Target’s starting pay of $15 store-wide because we’re worth it!
We’re the customer-facing Green Vests who power REI’s stores all over the country. We love our jobs because working with outdoor lovers makes for one helluva work culture. The only thing is, too many of us are struggling to make ends meet and in some cases are only a paycheck away from gong homeless. So you can imagine how we felt when Target made the announcement on Sept. 25, 2017 that it would be increasing the starting wage of its entire retail workforce to $15 by the end of 2020. We felt that REI should be leading the way to do better for its employees—not Target! If Target can invest in its employees by giving them a $15 starting wage, it’s time that REI do the same for us.
Why is this important?
REI has a rich history of being a cooperative that cares about its employees and authentically values them. Up until about 10-15 years ago this was true, but in recent years it’s been adopting the corporate practices of other large-scale retailers and we’ve been facing hardships we never thought were possible at our beloved co-op.
We’re witnessing an all-time high in turnover of employees. For those of us who have been at the co-op for a longtime, we’re finding it really alarming! There used to be a time when turnover at REI was a rarity. Moreover, what has historically distinguished REI from other retailers is the experienced and amiable staff who powers the stores. Losing our coworkers due to low pay and poor hours is effecting our customer’s experience, our phenomenal work culture, and it will inevitably impact our bottom line.
We’re asking that our CEO and REI Board Members adopt Target’s new wage philosophy for the hardworking green vests who make the REI Co-op the great place that it is to shop. We’re asking that our leadership live up to its image. In a time when unemployment is the lowest it’s been in 16 years, it is paramount that our cooperative reevaluates its present course. We believe that our beloved co-op should be leading the way in the retail industry and not Target or Walmart. You know how proud we are to wear green, but we’re sad to say that our co-op has been letting us down massively.
Join us in asking the REI Co-op to do better for all of their employees - especially their customer-facing Green Vests and Distribution Workers. #WereWorthIt!