Massachusetts Trader Joe’s workers approve union drive

Associated Press

Employees at a Trader Joe’s supermarket in Massachusetts on Thursday became the latest workers at a major company to approve a labor union.

The store in Hadley, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) west of Boston, is the first Trader Joe’s with an employees union, although workers at two other company locations have initiated unionization efforts.

Customers observe social distancing as they wait to be allowed to shop at a Trader Joe's supermarket in Omaha, Neb., May 7, 2020.

The union vote passed 45-31.

Organizers at the store launched the effort in May in an open letter to company CEO Dan Bane citing concerns about pay, benefits and safety. About 80 non-supervisory employees were eligible to vote, including what the company calls crew members and merchants, who are customer service specialists.

Now that the union has been approved, the next step is putting together a negotiating committee to hammer out a contract with the California-based company, which has about 550 stores nationwide, union organizer and 18-year Trader Joe’s employee Maeg Yosef said.

The Hadley union, called Trader Joe’s United, is independent, and not affiliated with a larger existing union, although organizers have received administrative and legal help from established unions, Yosef said.