Trader Joe workers vote to unionize at second store

Workers at a Trader Joe’s in Minneapolis voted Friday to unionize, adding a second unionized store to the supermarket chain’s more than ...


Workers at a Trader Joe’s in Minneapolis voted Friday to unionize, adding a second unionized store to the supermarket chain’s more than 500 locations.

Employees of a Trader Joe’s in Massachusetts voted to unionize last month, amid a trend of recent union victories involving service workers at companies like Starbucks, Apple and Amazon.

Minneapolis’ vote was 55 to 5, according to the National Labor Relations Board, which organized the election.

Minneapolis workers voted to join Trader Joe’s United, the same independent union that represents workers in Hadley, Mass. Workers at a third Trader Joe’s store in Colorado filed for union electionbut the labor board has not yet authorized a vote or set an election date.

In a statement referencing the Minneapolis election results, Trader Joe spokeswoman Nakia Rohde said, “While we are concerned about the impact of this rigid new legal relationship on Trader Joe’s culture, we are prepared to immediately enter into discussions with their collective bargaining representative to negotiate a contract.”

Sarah Beth Ryther, a Trader Joe worker in Minneapolis who took part in the organizing drive, said her co-workers were driven in part by dissatisfaction with wages and benefits, issues that contributed to trigger the union campaign in Massachusetts. The workers complained that the company has made its benefits less generous in recent years, even though some perks have improved more recently.

But Ms Ryther said she and her colleagues were also concerned that the store, which is in an area where some residents struggle with substance abuse and mental health issues, did not appear to have protocols or systems in place to manage certain emergencies. She cited one person who entered the store last fall with what appeared to be a gunshot wound and collapsed in her arms.

The police arrived quickly, Ms Ryther said, but Trader Joe’s did little to deal with the aftermath, such as explaining to workers what had happened. Several days passed before she was told she could collect workers’ compensation while taking time to deal with the trauma, she said.

Trader Joe’s did not respond to a request for comment on Ms Ryther’s account of worker complaints and store conditions, but, in her statement, Ms Rohde said the company was “committed to responding quickly when Circumstances change to ensure that we are doing what it takes to support our crew.

In March 2020, the company’s chief executive, Dan Bane, sent a letter to employees referring to the “current barrage of union activity directed at Trader Joe’s” and saying that union advocates “clearly believe that the time has come when they can create some sort of wedge in our company through which they can drive the dissatisfaction. ”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Trader Joe workers vote to unionize at second store
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