Everlane Customer Service Employees Are Unionizing, and the Company Isn’t Happy About It

When customers call up-and-coming clothing brand Everlane for support, chances are they’ll be speaking to a part-time, remote worker. Remote employees make up a significant chunk of Everlane’s customer service team, yet the 67 workers in this group say the company doesn’t value them or give them fair treatment. Now, they’re moving to unionize with the Communications Workers of America, under the Local 9410 chapter based in San Francisco, Vice reported last week. 

Some of the employees’ biggest frustrations include unpredictable and often unfair work schedules—for example, many were discouraged from taking time off on Christmas. The workers also believe they’re being paid unfairly, earning only $16 per hour while a group of seasonal workers the company just hired makes $18 per hour. They also feel that Everlane’s full time, on-site employees get treated significantly better, with free massages, snacks, and more, while the remote workers don’t even receive any basic benefits. 

“There’s a second-class status with CX and Retail within Everlane that runs counter to the values they espouse, compared to people in the San Francisco office,” a customer-experience employee based in New York told Vice.

Everlane, meanwhile, is unhappy with the workers’ decision to unionize. The company’s initial reaction was to admit some of the cultural inequality that exists: “The Everlane way is transparency and open communications and we know that we can do a better job of bringing our culture to life for all of you,” Kelly McLaughlin, the head of the People division at Everlane, wrote in an email to staff. Shortly after, however, she took a firmer stance: “[Joining a union] is a major step because it is a legal document that can designate the union as your exclusive representative and forfeit your right to deal directly with us to resolve issues,” McLaughlin wrote.

McLaughlin’s response struck a chord with employees because “dealing directly” with the company, or rather, their inability to do so, has been one of their major gripes. Their requests for better treatment have largely been ignored, which is why the idea to unionize came up in the first place.

Everlane will need to act fast if it wants to meet its workers halfway, as some of the busiest shopping days of the year—and the busiest season for returns—draw near. The customer experience workers told Vice that they have purposely planned to announce their decision to unionize shortly before Christmas when their workload is at its peak with more than 1,000 open “tickets” from customers.

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