Lululemon Workers in DC Become the Latest to Join Retail Union Wave

Workers for athleisure company Lululemon Athletica in Washington, D.C., have filed to unionize, seeking to become the first of the company’s 315 U.S. locationsTo form a union.

Workers will be able to work on Wednesday filed forAs reported by the first time, a union election was held with the National Labor Relations Board. It covered the 33-person unit. Bloomberg. According to the NLRB filing, they are filing under the name of the “Association of Concerted Educators.” This is likely due to the fact that workers in sales positions in Lululemon’s brick and mortar stores are referred to as “educators” by the company.

On the union’s Twitter, the Georgetown workers say that the company’s stated “core values,” including things like entrepreneurship, honesty, courage, connection and inclusion, are part of what inspired them to organize.

“We are courageous, we are demanding more,” the union wrote. “More collaboration. Transparency. Increased transparency in pay. More equitable pay structures.”

“We show up ready to truly connect with our guests and truly create fun and memorable experience [sic]. We seek to uphold our value of inclusion in everything we do,” the union continued. “These are the reasons we are collectively saying: Recognize our union.”

Lululemon employees at all levels have reported that they have been subject to abusive working conditions in recent years. Brick and mortar workers have said that there is a “cultlike” culture of “toxic positivity” within the company, despite the fact that the company touts being inclusive. Workers are paid$15-$17 an hour, depending upon the location, after the company announced a pay raise to help them maintain staffing.

One worker told Insider in 2021 that, partially because the company’s corporate staff was largely white and able-bodied, non-white workers often felt subjugated or left out. One Asian American worker who formerly worked in a Minnesota location said that her manager would sometimes insinuate that the non-white workers at the store weren’t as enthusiastic as their white counterparts. These claims were denied by Lululemon.

Other employees at the company have also reported unsafe working conditions. In 2019, workers in Bangladesh reported being verbally and physically abused by management for breaking rules while only being paid about $86 a month — less than the cost of a typical pair of leggings from the brand. The company saidIt was conducting an investigation into the allegations, after they were discovered by The Guardian, but it’s unclear if any changes have come out of that investigation.

Meanwhile, the company’s corporate culture has also been problematic. In 2018, Racked reported that the company’s outgoing CEO Laurent Potdevin had fostered a “boy’s club” culture at the company; some workers said that only men or Potdevin’s favorite employees were able to move up in the company.

If the Georgetown workers succeed with forming a union, it will be another success story in the wave that has swept across the country over the past few months.

Workers at companies like Starbucks have had enormous success unionizing and growing their movement across the country, and the momentum doesn’t seem to be fizzling out any time soon. Another retail union Trader Joe’s United, has marked a small win this week as a second store that’s filed to unionize with the group has received a union date. The Minneapolis workersNext month, the Hadley, Massachusetts workers will vote to unionize.