Associates at a Hadley, Mass. Trader Joe’s have reportedly filed for a union election, according to The New York Times, NPR and other media outlets. A filing with the National Labor Relations Board stated that 85 employees are voting on the formation of an independent union, called Trader Joe’s United, rather than affiliate with an established organization.
The union has support from more than 50% of the workers at the store, according to Maeg Yosef, a leader of the union campaign. Yosef and her co-workers began discussing the campaign over the winter, citing issues including a reduction in benefits over time and health and safety concerns that had become magnified during the pandemic.
“Over the past however many years, changes have been happening without our consent,” said Yosef in an interview with The New York Times. “We wanted to be in charge of the whole process, to be our own union. So we decided to go independent.”
Trader Joe’s has reportedly resisted unionization efforts in the past. In March 2020, CEO Dan Bane sent employees a letter referring to “the current barrage of union activity that has been directed at Trader Joe’s” and that union advocates “clearly believe that now is a moment when they can create some sort of wedge in our company through which they can drive discontent,” according to The New York Times.
However, the retailer is not opposing the upcoming unionization vote. “We have always said we welcome a fair vote and are prepared to hold a vote if more than 30% of the crew wants one,” said Nakia Rohde, a spokesperson for Trader Joe’s, in an interview with The New York Times. “We are not interested in delaying the process in any way.”
Unionization efforts have been ongoing at multiple retailers. Some of the latest developments include:
- More than 100 Starbucks stores in 25 states have unionized, with an additional 120 either having voted or awaiting election results. According to CNBC, 88% of stores voted in favor of unionization, with only 14 locations voting against the move;
- A Staten Island, N.Y. Amazon warehouse voted to form a union, while an Alabama facility’s vote failed and a Bayonne, N.J. facility withdrew its petition for a vote; and
- Apple retail store workers at the Cumberland Mall location in Atlanta filed for a union election, with 70% of the group of more than 100 eligible employees signing union authorization cards.