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Workers ‘Start Union Push At Trader Joe's’ In Western Massachusetts

Published Tuesday, May 17, 2022
by The Associated Press Via WBUR
Workers ‘Start Union Push At Trader Joe's’ In Western Massachusetts

(HADLEY, MASSACHUSETTS) - Employees are seeking to unionize at a Trader Joe's Grocery Store in western Massachusetts, joining a nationwide surge of Labor Organizing among retail and Food Service Workers.

Organizers at the store in Hadley sent an open letter to company CEO Dan Bane dated over the weekend, citing concerns about pay, benefits and safety.

They asked for a Union Election “without interference or obstruction."

Workers across the country, including multiple Starbucks locations and an Amazon warehouse in New York, have successfully Unionized in recent months.

And just recently, Workers at a Target store in Christiansburg, Virginia filed paperwork with Federal Labor Regulators to hold a Union Election.

It’s also not the first time Trader Joe’s Workers have talked about forming a Union.

At the start of the Coronavirus Pandemic, some Workers who were concerned about safety discussed organizing, but those efforts ultimately fizzled under pressure from management, who in a letter to Workers said that Unions “drive discontent.”

“Since that letter arrived in our mailboxes, Trader Joe’s has continued to slash our benefits, as our wages stagnate and our safety concerns go unaddressed,” the Hadley Workers said in their letter to Bane. “A Union is the only way to protect and improve our pay and benefits.  The company’s actions have made this clear.”

Maeg Yosef, a Union Organizer who’s worked for 18 years at the Hadley store, said the company has cut contributions to Employee Retirement Plans - from the equivalent of 15% of an Employee’s annual pay down to nothing - since she started there.

“A lot of us have made a career with the company and planning for retirement is important to us,” she said.

The loss of benefits is a major concern of many Workers who’ve recently launched Unionization efforts, said Christine O’Brien, a Professor of Business Law at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management: “That’s a ripe situation for organizing, any time you take away benefits and Employees feel a loss of control.”

Around two-thirds of the Hadley store’s nearly 100 Crew Members support the Union, Yosef said.

Their letter was presented to the store’s manager, who promised a fair vote, but the Organizers haven’t heard from company headquarters in Monrovia, California, as of Monday (May 16th), she said.

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