A Third Trader Joe's Location May Be Joining The Union Movement

The 10 months of food union news have been dominated by the push to unionize Starbucks and the conflict this created between Starbucks Workers United and Starbucks corporate. However, we are now seeing a wave of unionization occur at Trader Joe's.

The trend has been marked by a third store's decision to have a union vote. The Denver Post reported that a store in Boulder has filed for a union vote. This has occurred in the same week that workers in Hadley, Massachusetts will cast their vote, and workers in Minneapolis have scheduled their vote for the 11th and 12th of August.

According to an open letter tweeted by Trader Joe's United, the union for Trader Joe's workers, Trader Joe's corporate has slashed wages, reduced benefits, and failed to ensure the safety of its frontline workers during a global pandemic. Despite claims made by the company in 2020 that union organizers were outside forces that would disrupt things, the workers came to the conclusion that they could only rely on the people with whom they worked.

Management is not happy

Starbucks has captured headlines with its various anti-union tactics like having its founder and interim CEO Howard Schultz make various tours. Trader Joe's has managed to avoid the scrutiny that such overt moves draw. However, that's not to say that they are happy with the unionization effort.

HuffPost reports that despite not publicly denouncing unions, managers at the Hadley Trader Joe's have conducted one-on-one chats with the purpose of delivering anti-union talking points. Managers also instructed workers to remove pro-union pins from their uniforms or go home. A complaint against this has been filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

Amsterdam News also relayed suspicions of New York workers that the recently offered benefits were to convince workers unions weren't necessary. Of course, the suspicion continues, this overlooks the point that the benefits were given out of fear of unions, which means there is a connection. One of these benefits is the $10 raise for working on Sundays was announced on July 21, which More Perfect Union does not think is a coincidence. 

Still, these are not yet as heavy-handed as Starbucks. That might change, however, if the Hadley store votes to unionize. In that case, though, the workers in Boulder won't be alone. "We're ready for a fight. We're ready to answer the need of workers who want representation," Kim Cordova, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, told Colorado Daily.