Nevada Patagonia Store Becomes First to Unionize

Workers at a Patagonia store in Reno, Nev. have voted to unionize their store, becoming the first U.S. location in the outdoor chain to achieve this milestone.

Nine out of 15 eligible employees voted in favor of a union, representing a majority in the 14 total votes that were tallied. The unionized employees will be represented by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 711. According to data from the National Labor Relations Board, these Patagonia employees filed for an election earlier this year.

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“America’s love of the outdoors deserves to be met with an appreciation for the workers who make our adventures possible,” said UFCW international president Marc Perrone in a statement. “Whether in retail, rock climbing, or beyond, all workers deserve to have representation on the job. We are excited to welcome Patagonia workers to the UFCW and look forward to reaching a strong union contract that reflects their hard work and experience.”

Patagonia’s vice president of communications and public policy Corley Kenna told FN in a statement that the company is committed to working with union representatives on next steps.

“It was important to us that our approach to this process reflected Patagonia’s values,” Kenna said. “We have long used our brand and business to encourage participation in the democratic process, and in the same spirit, we wanted the Reno team to have a voice in this important decision. While this is new territory for us, we’ll continue doing everything we can to help all team members feel supported and connected.”

The news comes on the heels of a successful union organizing campaign at several REI stores across the country since 2022. UFCW has organized nine of these REI location with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

Nick Helmreich, a retail team lead at the Reno Patagonia store, said in a statement that employees were inspired to pursue representation after seeing REI’s unionization progress.

“We are ready to fight for a contract that protects our rights and provides the wages and benefits we’ve earned making Patagonia the success that it is in Reno,” Helmreich said.

Like REI, Patagonia has been vocal about social justice, sustainability and preserving the planet. Founder Yvon Chouinard in 2022 announced he would transfer ownership of the privately held business to a nonprofit and specially designated trust to inspire other businesses.

In 2020, the company took a firm stance on climate-denying politicians and shared with its consumers a message to “Vote Climate Deniers Out of Office.” In 2021, Gellert took the the company’s Twitter account to encourage businesses to join the outdoor retailer in removing advertisements from Facebook as well as its subsidiary Instagram to protest the spread of “hate speech and misinformation about climate change and our democracy” on the platform. The company also made a public statement in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding abortion in 2022.

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