Trader Joe’s workers in Hadley, Massachusetts on Thursday voted in favor of forming the grocery chain's first union.
Workers voted 45-31 in support of the union election.
Trader Joe's, in a statement, said it is prepared to "immediately begin discussions with union representatives for the employees at this store to negotiate a contract."
"We are willing to use any current union contract for a multi-state grocery company with stores in the area, selected by the union representatives, as a template to negotiate a new structure for the employees in this store; including pay, retirement, healthcare, and working conditions such as scheduling and job flexibility," the Monrovia, California-based grocery chain, which has more than 500 locations in 42 states, said.
For its part, the new union said the work is just beginning.
“We now begin the difficult work of sitting down at the negotiating table as equals with our employer, and securing a contract that will benefit and protect us, the crew, instead of the company’s bottom line," the group's letter said.
Workers at the Hadley Trader Joe's have not been happy with the current pay and benefits at the company. They've reported that the company has taken away extra COVID pay, refused raises and cut retirement contributions in half.
“There is no Trader Joe’s without the crew. We must embrace this challenge head on, together, and negotiate a contract that reflects the values Trader Joe’s has long claimed to espouse," the union said.
Since the Hadley’s Trader Joe’s filed its unionization documents with the National Labor Relations Board, two other Trader Joe’s stores have joined the growing movement. A Trader Joe’s grocery in Minneapolis will vote on unionization next month, and a Trader Joe’s in Boulder, Colorado has filed a petition to unionize.
“Our contract will not just benefit us," the new union said. "We believe that our union, by improving our store and every store across the country, will strengthen Trader Joe’s as a whole and help the company return to its core values, the first of which is integrity.”
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.
The pro-union vote adds Trader Joe’s to a growing list of other companies such as Starbucks, REI and Apple that 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.