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Zara Employees Form a Union in US for the First Time

Workers at the world’s largest fashion retailer are forming a more perfect union.

For the first time in the U.S., workers at Spanish retailer Inditex’s flagship brand voted for unionization in New York City and the move could pave the way for more Zara store employees across the nation to do the same.

After receiving signed cards from workers at Zara’s eight NYC locations indicating a desire to organize, The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU)—which also represents brands like Macy’s and H&M—recognized the union.

Now the RWDSU Local 1102 chapter will represent more than 1,000 Zara employees who man the store floors and handle sales and stock.

Inditex, which operates more than 7,000 stores around the world, seemed not to blink an eye over the news.

“This is a normal consequence of our commitment regarding the rights of freedom of association worldwide,” Inditex told BuzzFeed News in a statement.

Janna Pea, a spokesperson for the union said the certification is the last step in a neutrality agreement between Zara in the U.S. and part of the company’s global framework.

“We wish more American employers would follow this European model of Zara and H&M, which allows and respects the unions’ right to organize,” Pea told BuzzFeed.

The move, as it’s being seen, could help other Zara employees the country over, unionize too.

“We applaud Zara for recognizing the rights of its employees to choose to unionize, without interference,” RWDSU president Stuart Appelbaum, told BuzzFeed. “Zara, the largest fast-fashion retailer in the world, is sending a strong message that you can remain profitable and still recognize your workers’ right to dignity, justice and respect on the job.”

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