Trader Joe's Adds To Its Unionization Efforts With Another Major Win

The unionization movement is gaining ground in the food and beverage industry in general, and at Trader Joe's, specifically. On July 28, 2022, the very first Trader Joe's, in Hadley Massachusetts, voted 45-31 in favor of forming a union, according to Today. The Trader Joe's national chain of grocery stores, founded in 1967, is known for its store brand items, like the granola they introduced in 1972. The chain focuses on offering interesting foods at value prices, and they're proud of their diverse, inclusive hiring practices, as well as of the community outreach they engage in.

Lately though, Trader Joe's has been criticized for not having provided ideal working conditions or wages for its workers. Prior to the Hadley vote, a Go Fund Me campaign for the Trader Joe's United Solidarity Fund raised more than $3,500 to support efforts to unionize workers. The campaign cited "watching Trader Joe's chip away at worker benefits, allow wages to stagnate, and neglect ongoing safety issues" as reasons for starting a union.

What's the latest win?

On August 12, 2022, Trader Joe's United tweeted that the Minneapolis Trader Joe's voted to unionize in a "landslide victory." Grocery Dive reported that 55 workers voted to join Trader Joe's United, while five voted against and three challenged votes would go uncounted, as they couldn't change the outcome. Though Trader Joe's claims to offer exemplary working conditions and pay for its workers, the grocery chain's statement indicated they are ready to begin negotiating a contract with the nascent union.

Minneapolis isn't the final word in the move toward Trader Joe's workers and unionization. Colorado Daily explains the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 in Boulder, Colorado filed a petition in late July 2022 to hold a union election at the local Trader Joe's. Workers cite disparities in pay between existing and new employees of Trader Joe's, along with a reduction in the 401K match from the company as reasons for wanting to join the UFCW Local 7. Trader Joe's could choose to voluntarily recognize the Boulder union, but if they don't, a date will be set for a third union election for the grocery chain.