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Sex-positive adult toy store employees file for unionization

Good Vibrations San Francisco Polk Street Store

Workers said they got bad health and safety vibes from Good Vibrations’ management.

Workers at three Bay Area locations of the sex-positive adult toy store Good Vibrations have filed for a union election.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 5 (UFCW 5) said the workers were first motivated to organize after management allegedly mishandled its response to the global pandemic, but later cited workplace health and safety issues as key factors in the drive to unionize.

“The workers were originally motivated to organize after the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated on-the-job safety issues,” UFCW 5 said in a statement released on December 29. “The fight has since expanded to center better wages, job security, and improved health and safety practices in all areas of the workplace.”

Sam Pollack, an employee from the Palo Alto location who is a trans woman of queer experience, told John Ferrannini of the Bay Area Reporter there was a “specific inciting incident” involving an “unnecessary” COVID outbreak amongst employees during the pandemic that drove the workers to organize. Pollack, who is a member of the organizing committee, said UFCW 5 looked like a perfect fit for the workers of Good Vibrations.

“UFCW 5 looked interesting to us because they organize a lot of people in alternative retail, cannabis workers, as well as more mainstream,” Pollack told the Reporter via telephone. “Grocery store workers and pharmacists are organized under this union.”

The local union touts its “diverse group of laborers” on its website, listing “supermarket stockers, retail clerks, food processors, financial professionals, and cannabis cultivators” amongst its members.

Jim Araby, strategic campaigns director at UFCW 5, told the Reporter that safety issues were also a factor in the unionization efforts. He cited unsettling “run-ins with customers” that left some employees feeling unsafe working alone.

Araby said he expects a vote on unionization to take place later next month.

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