Specialty outdoor retailer REI Co-op has announced that it will delay the opening of its stores by two hours this Election Day to give every employee paid time off for civic engagement. As part of its Your Vote Can’t Wait campaign, the co-op has also created an election resource hub for employees and members alike at REI.com/vote.“Every election is an opportunity for each of us to engage, participate and help create the change we want to see in our world and this year’s midterms are no exception,” said Ben Steele, Executive Vice President, Chief Customer Officer, REI Co-op. “No one should be forced to choose between going to work and participating in the democratic process.”
The decision comes as a direct result of feedback received in employee focus groups. “Time and again, we’ve heard that our employees expect us not just to speak out on issues facing our co-op and society, but that they are looking for ways to get involved in making this a better world for all. That’s why last year we launched the REI Cooperative Action Network, our community advocacy platform that allows people to take action on the issues we care about most, and why we’re taking this action on Election Day,” Steele added.
The principle that each person is guaranteed a vote is foundational to both our co-op and our democracy. REI remains committed to broadening civic engagement and ensuring everyone’s right to participate fully in our democracy. “Voting is fundamental to our society, but democracy encompasses more than casting a ballot,” Steele said. “It’s a shared belief that underpins our institutions, girds our social structures, and informs how we engage with one another. A functioning democracy requires the full participation of all its citizens.”