fb-pixelREI employees in Boston store vote to unionize - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

REI employees in Boston store vote to unionize

REI workers walk down Causeway Street after filing for an election inside the NLRB office at North Station.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff


REI employees in Boston store vote to unionize

REI employees in Boston voted Monday night to join the United Food and Commercial Workers, approving the union 44-23. The store, one of five in Massachusetts, is the fifth in the national outdoor equipment chain to win union recognition in the past year, with four more elections on the way. Employees in Boston are demanding higher pay, better health and safety measures, increased staffing levels, and more consistent hours for part-timers. “I am proud and grateful to be a small part of this new resurgence in the labor movement, organizing high turnover workplaces that most people consider impossible to organize,” employee Owen Schmidt said in a text. “I’m excited to move forward with my coworkers in building a strong contract that will protect us all.” In a statement, the company said it “believes in the right of every eligible employee to vote for or against union representation. We fully supported our Boston employees through the vote process and we will continue to support our employees going forward as they begin to navigate the collective bargaining process.” A wave of union activity at well-known companies such as Starbucks, Amazon, Trader Joe’s, Apple, and Chipotle have breathed new life into the beleaguered labor movement. Agreeing on a first contract can take years, however. A third of new unions don’t reach an agreement for more than three years after winning an election, according to Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. — KATIE JOHNSTON



Chief executive of IDG to leave at end of May

Tech research firm International Data Group will soon have a new boss, now that chief executive Mohamad Ali has made plans to step down at the end of May. Former Concur chief executive Steve Singh, IDG’s board chair since early 2022, will take over as executive chairman of the 4,000-person company. (IDG’s board is expected to start looking for a new CEO.) Singh is based in the Seattle area and has been a managing director at Madrona Venture Group, a Seattle-based investment firm, for the past three years. Ali joined Needham-based IDG in mid-2019 after leading Boston data-storage firm Carbonite, and he helped engineer a deal in 2021 to sell IDG to private equity giant Blackstone for $1.3 billion. As chief executive of IDG, he helped accelerate the company’s shift away from emphasizing its tech media properties to focus more on its work as a sales platform that connects buyers and sellers of big IT hardware and software transactions. He said he plans to announce his next step sometime in the summer, possibly into the artificial intelligence or clean-tech sectors. “It’s been a remarkable four years,” Ali wrote in an e-mail. “We transformed a media company into a data and software company, saw breathtaking growth, navigated a pandemic, and sold to Blackstone. I plan to take the summer off, travel, and advise some of our policy makers on certain economic matters.” — JON CHESTO



Jeep Cherokee owners told to park vehicles outside because of fire risk

Stellantis is telling owners of nearly 220,000 Jeep Cherokee SUVs worldwide to park them outdoors and away from other vehicles because the power lift gates can catch fire even when the engines are off. The company is recalling certain Cherokees from the 2014 through 2016 model years. Water can get into the liftgate control computer, causing an electrical short that can touch off a fire. The company says it hasn’t developed a fix yet. Owners will get notification letters starting June 30. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Sunset at Oxford University in Oxford, England on Jan. 15, 2023. MAX MIECHOWSKI/NYT


Sackler name to be removed from Oxford buildings

The University of Oxford is removing the name of the Sackler family, who controlled a company blamed for playing a major role in the US opioid crisis, from buildings and libraries. The name will be taken off galleries of the Ashmolean Museum as well as from several job titles including an associate professorship. The decision was made in agreement with the family, according to a statement from Oxford. The Sacklers, whose company Purdue Pharma produced the blockbuster painkiller OxyContin, were for decades leading figures in global philanthropy, with their name emblazoned on museums around the world. But as Purdue became associated with the opioid crisis, organizations including the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, London’s National Gallery, and the Louvre in Paris dropped their name. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Vodafone to lay off 11,000

Wireless carrier Vodafone said Tuesday that it’s laying off 11,000 workers as part of a major revamp aimed at cutting costs and boosting flagging financial performance. Vodafone, one of the world’s biggest mobile phone companies by subscribers, made the announcement as it reported that its annual earnings dropped 1.3 percent and forecast little or no earnings growth over the financial year. Vodafone operates in markets across Europe and Africa and employed about 100,000 people globally at the end of last year. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Home Depot revenue down

After years of explosive growth during the pandemic, Home Depot’s revenue during the first quarter fell short of expectations and the company cut its profit and sales outlook for the year, sending shares down 2 percent Tuesday. For the three months that ended April 30, revenue dropped to $37.26 billion from last year’s $38.91 billion, and it was short of the $38.45 billion projected by analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research. Sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, dropped 4.5 percent, and it dropped 4.6 percent for stores in the United States. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Rupert Stadler, former head of German carmaker Audi, arrives in court during his trial over charges relating to the emissions scandal of Audi cars on May 16, 2023 in Munich, Germany. Sebastian Widmann/Photographer: Sebastian Widmann/


Former Audi chief pleads guilty in emissions scandal

The former head of Volkswagen’s luxury division Audi pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges tied to the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal, becoming the highest-ranking executive convicted over cars that cheated on emissions tests with the help of illegal software. Rupert Stadler admitted wrongdoing and regret for his failure to keep rigged cars off the market even after the scandal had become public knowledge, the dpa news agency reported. Stadler entered the plea under an agreement with the judge and prosecutors that provides probation instead of jail time and orders him to pay a 1.1 million euro ($1.2 million) fine. Three lower-ranking managers also have taken plea deals in the 2 1/2-year-long trial in Munich. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Philips says new tests show recalled machines not harmful

Philips said new tests on its recalled sleep apnea products showed the vast majority of the devices are unlikely to cause considerable health damage to patients. Exposure to degraded foam in 95 percent of the breathing apparatuses is “unlikely to result in an appreciable harm to health in patients,” the Netherlands-based health company said Tuesday, citing its test results. Philips initiated its first recall of potentially faulty sleep apnea products in June 2021, with the US Food & Drug Administration also labeling those as a Class 1 issue, the most serious type. The company has set aside around 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) for the recall of around 5.5 million devices globally and booked additional provisions of 575 million euros as part of a planned settlement in the United States to compensate patients. — BLOOMBERG NEWS