Secret ballot to determine Brylane’s Indy unionization

After 15 months of acrimony, multititle mailer Brylane and the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees (UNITE) have reached an agreement that paves the way for workers at Brylane’s Indiana distribution centers to decide if they want union representation.

On Dec. 27, Brylane and UNITE agreed to a secret mail-in card/ballot vote in the Indianapolis distribution center from Jan. 9 to Jan. 23 to determine if Brylane’s workers favored union representation. The campaign will be administered and authenticated by a neutral third party. The decision will be announced by the end of the month.

If 50% plus one of the Brylane distribution center employees express the desire to be represented by UNITE, Brylane will recognize the union and begin negotiations on the first union contract for the Indiana employees. If 50% or fewer of the employees support union representation, UNITE will discontinue its Brylane organizing activities for at least one year.

Some of the Indiana Brylane employees are seeking union representation to improve what they claim is a higher-than-average rate of repetitive motion injuries. UNITE already represents all the employees at the company’s West Bridgewater, MA, distribution center, which handles fulfillment for the Chadwick’s of Boston women’s apparel catalog. UNITE has been organizing with Brylane’s Indianapolis fulfillment center workers since October 2001.

Brylane, a subsidiary of French conglomerate Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR), mails nine apparel and home goods catalogs, including KingSize, Jessica London, Roaman’s, and Lerner New York.

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