Workers at a Trader Joe’s store in Louisville, Ky., voted to join the Trader Joe’s United union last week, following in the path of two other Trader Joe’s locations that joined last year.
The vote in Louisville was 48 to 36, according to the union. Last year, workers at two Trader Joe’s stores, one in Minneapolis and one in Hadley, Mass., voted to unionize, and have been negotiating their contracts separately but on parallel tracks.
As previously reported, the workers at the Louisville Trader Joe’s had previously agreed to have a union vote and had filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board, which scheduled last week’s election.
Sarah Beth Ryther, an employee organizer at the Minneapolis Trader Joe’s, previously told SN that a key concern of the union is that Trader Joe’s allows its store general managers, known as “captains,” some freedom in whether or not to implement certain policies. This can lead to local implementation of policies that could be discriminatory, she said.
“We want to make sure there is a policy in place that is firm, and that helps prevent some of that discrimination from happening,” she said.
A spokesperson for Trader Joe’s could not be reached for comment.
Trader Joe’s United is an independent union that was formed by workers at the Hadley, Mass., location, which was the first to organize last summer. It was not clear when negotiations at the Louisville Trader Joes would begin.
Ryder previously said negotiations were in the very early stages at the first two stores, with months of talks ahead. Because the company is negotiating each store’s contract separately, the process is especially time-consuming, she said.
Meanwhile a unionization effort at New Seasons Market in Portland, Ore., remains in flux after United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 this month said the NLRB is charging the retailer with multiple unfair labor practices leading up to last year’s union election at the Orenco Station location, where workers rejected the union. A hearing has been scheduled for April 18.
“While we were disappointed with the initial results of the election, we said at its conclusion that the fight was not over,” said Dan Clay, president, UFCW Local 555 “The ballot count was affected by the unfair labor practices the company committed in the election process.”
Workers at several New Seasons locations voted last year to join the New Seasons Labor union, another independent union.
New Seasons Market respects each staff member's right to choose whether they want union representation, a spokesperson for the chain told SN.
"New Seasons Market disagrees that it engaged in any alleged unlawful conduct described in the NLRB complaint, which is particularly evident given that 90% of eligible Orenco Station staff participated in the election and overwhelmingly voted against union representation," the spokesperson said. "In the upcoming hearing on these matters, we look forward to further demonstrating that New Seasons Market acted in a lawful manner and that overturning the election is not warranted.