Labor organizers at a Trader Joe’s store in Massachusetts will find out Thursday if there is enough support among employees to form the chain’s first union.
About 80 workers at the store in Hadley were expected to cast ballots over two days, said Maeg Yosef, a union organizer who has worked at Trader Joe’s for 18 years.
The workers are organizing under the name Trader Joe’s United, which if successful, would be an independent union, and not affiliated with a larger existing union.
Workers from at least two other Trader Joe’s locations have initiated unionization efforts. Employees at a Minneapolis location have a union vote scheduled for Aug. 11 and 12, while the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 on Tuesday filed a union election petition with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of crew members at a Boulder, Colorado store.
The Trader Joe’s workers are part of a nationwide wave of employees at major companies who have or are attempting to unionize in an effort to secure a bigger say in their work conditions and compensation.
Workers at multiple Starbucks coffee shop locations across the country, as well as employees at Amazon, Apple and REI are among those who have joined unions in the past year.
Trader Joe’s management has engaged in what Yosef called “classic union-busting” tactics, including hiring a law firm specializing in fighting unionization to try and talk employees out of approving a union.
California-based Trader Joe’s, which has about 550 stores nationwide, also just announced an enhanced benefits package that includes more paid time off and better pay for some employees, which she said was an effort to head off unionization.
Trader Joe’s has generous pay and benefits by retail industry standards, a company spokesperson said this week.
“Trader Joe’s is a great place to work and our compensation, benefits, flexibility, and working conditions are among the best when compared to any retailer,” Nakia Rohde said in an email. “We welcome a fair vote by our crew members.”