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Trader Joe’s Employees Vote to Unionize at a Second Store

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Employees at a Trader Joe’s in Minneapolis voted on Friday to unionize, adding a second unionized store to the greater than 500 locations of the supermarket chain.

Employees at a Trader Joe’s in Massachusetts voted to unionize last month, a part of a trend of recent union victories involving service staff at firms like Starbucks, Apple and Amazon.

The Minneapolis vote was 55 to five, in response to the National Labor Relations Board, which held the election.

The Minneapolis staff voted to hitch Trader Joe’s United, the identical independent union that represents staff in Hadley, Mass. Employees at a 3rd Trader Joe’s store, in Colorado, have filed for a union election, however the labor board has not yet authorized a vote or set an election date.

In an announcement referring to the election leads to Minneapolis, a Trader Joe’s spokeswoman, Nakia Rohde, said, “While we’re concerned about how this recent rigid legal relationship will impact Trader Joe’s culture, we’re prepared to right away begin discussions with their collective bargaining representative to barter a contract.”

Sarah Beth Ryther, a Trader Joe’s employee in Minneapolis who was involved within the organizing campaign, said her co-workers had been motivated partially by dissatisfaction with pay and advantages, issues that helped prompt the union campaign in Massachusetts. Employees have complained that the corporate has made its advantages less generous in recent times, though some advantages have improved more recently.

But Ms. Ryther said she and her colleagues were also concerned that the shop, which is in an area where some residents struggle with drug dependency and mental health challenges, appeared to not have protocols or systems in place to handle certain emergencies. She cited a one that got here into the shop last fall with what seemed to be a gunshot wound and collapsed into her arms.

Law enforcement officials arrived quickly, Ms. Ryther said, but Trader Joe’s did little to deal with the aftermath, reminiscent of explaining to staff what had happened. Several days passed before she was told that she could collect staff’ compensation while taking day without work to cope with the trauma, she said.

Trader Joe’s didn’t reply to a request for comment on Ms. Ryther’s account of the employees’ complaints and the shop’s conditions, but, in her statement, Ms. Rohde said the corporate was “committed to responding quickly when circumstances change to make sure we’re doing the suitable thing to support our crew.”

In March 2020, the corporate’s chief executive, Dan Bane, sent a letter to employees referring to “the present barrage of union activity that has been directed at Trader Joe’s” and asserting that union advocates “clearly imagine that now’s a moment once they can create some type of wedge in our company through which they’ll drive discontent.”

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