The 88 Trader Joe’s workers in Hadley, Massachusetts should know by late Thursday whether their store will become the chain’s first to unionize, a move that could have wide-reaching repercussions for the more than 500-unit grocery brand and for the industry at large.
A second Trader Joe’s union vote is scheduled Aug. 11 and 12 at a Minneapolis store.
Unionization has swept the retail and foodservice sectors in recent months as pandemic-weary workers press for better pay and benefits, along with improved working conditions.
A vote to unionize would add Trader Joe’s to a growing list of other companies such as Starbucks, REI and Apple who have had workers vote to unionize for the first time in the last year.
Unionization has spread quickly at Starbucks, growing to 200 stores in just 11 months.
Workers at the Hadley Trader Joe’s, organizing under the name Trader Joe’s United, have said the company has taken away extra COVID pay, refused raises and cut retirement contributions in half, according to media reports.
A Trader Joe’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a WGB request to comment on the pending unionization.
But the company told the Associated Press this week, “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 grocery chain’s spokesperson said. “We welcome a fair vote by our crew members.”
To schedule the union election, at least 30% of Hadley’s bargaining unit was required to approve the move. A majority of votes in favor will be required to unionize.
The National Labor Relations Board is scheduled to certify the results of the election late Thursday.
“We've had a majority of support since the time we went public, that hasn't changed,” Maeg Yosef, an 18-year Trader Joe’s veteran at the Hadley store and union organizer told CBS news.