Brooklyn Trader Joe’s rejects unionization

Workers at the store in Williamsburg voted 94 to 66 against joining a union Thursday, according to the National Labor Relations Board. Two Trader Joe’s stores unionized this summer.
Trader Joe's
Workers at a Brooklyn Trader Joe's voted against joining the union. / Photo: Shutterstock

A Trader Joe’s in Brooklyn, New York, will not be the grocer’s newest union shop.

Workers at the Trader Joe’s in Williamsburg Thursday voted “no” on unionizing, with 94 voting against the measure and 66 in favor, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“Workers in Williamsburg fought bravely toward a union election today; unfortunately the no votes carried the day,” the union, Trader Joe’s United, posted on Twitter. “The struggle to organize Trader Joe’s continues and please watch this space for more updates.”

Workers at the Brooklyn Trader Joe’s filed documents with the NLRB last month to unionize.

Had employees voted in favor of the effort, they would have joined two other Trader Joe’s stores that have voted yes.

In August, workers at a Trader Joe’s store in downtown Minneapolis voted to join the union, following those at a market in Hadley, Massachusetts, who voted to do the same in July.

“We really just were grocery store workers who started to talk about how a union could benefit us,” Maeg Yosef, a union organizer who has worked at the Hadley, Massachusetts, store for 18 years, told WGB earlier this month. “We worked through the pandemic. We saw other places like Starbucks had been unionizing … It felt a lot tougher during the pandemic because the stakes were a lot higher for everyone who worked.”

With unionization, Trader Joe’s workers are fighting for better wages, benefits and employee safety, Yosef said.

Trader Joe’s as previously not responded to WGB requests to comment on unionization activity. But, earlier this summer, a company spokesperson told the Association Press: “Trader Joe’s is a great place to work. Our compensation, benefits, flexibility and working conditions are among the best when compared to any retailer.”

The Williamsburg Trader Joe’s, an 18,000-square-foot market in a mixed-use development, has been open less than a year.

Workers at the store allege racial discrimination and poor working conditions, according to a report in the pro-union, progressive publication More Perfect Union.

Unionization in restaurants, grocery stores and other companies has swept the country in the last year or so as workers who stayed on the job during the height of the pandemic demand better working conditions. Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks now has more than 200 unionized stores.

Monrovia, California-based Trader Joe’s was founded in 1967 and now operates more than 500 stores around the country.


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