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Trader Joe’s objects to Louisville union vote

NLRB filing claims illegal pressure on workers to support unionization

Trader Joe’s has filed an objection with the National Labor Relations Board protesting the union election last week at Louisville, Ky., store.

The retailer claims that the union and its supporters acted unlawfully to discourage voting in the election, according to the filing.

As previously reported, workers at the store voted 48-36 in favor of unionization, making the store the third in the chain to vote in favor of representation by Trader Joe’s United, the union formed specifically to represent workers at the chain.

According to the filing, union representatives and supporters urged workers at the Louisville store to transfer to another location if they did not support the union, and made “unwelcome, intrusive, harassing and intimidating comments” to workers.

“I just think it’s a clear attempt to delay Louisville’s certification, said Sarah Beth Ryther, an employee organizer at the Minneapolis Trader Joe’s. It’s a clear attempt to cast doubt on our organizing efforts.”

Trader Joe’s objection could delay negotiations at the Louisville location for months, according to local reports, depending if the NLRB agrees to hear its case, and then whether or not either side appeals its ruling.

Meanwhile the union said it had just completed two days of bargaining with Trader Joe’s in Hadley, Mass., which it said in a Twitter post were its “most productive” negotiations so far. It is negotiating contracts for both the Hadley store and the other unionized store in Minneapolis separately but on parallel tracks.

The union said it presented its first economic proposals at the bargaining session, asking for a starting wage of $30 per hour for all store workers, high-quality health insurance with no premiums and no “high deductibles,” more paid time off for sick days and bereavement, and guaranteed retirement plan contributions.

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