Union election date set for Trader Joe’s employees in Hadley 

  • The Trader Joe’s grocery store at 375 Russell St. in Hadley, seen on Saturday, March 21, 2020. FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Monday, July 11, 2022

HADLEY — Employees of the Trader Joe’s on Route 9 will hold the first vote to unionize in the grocery store chain’s history after the National Labor Relations Board approved their request for an election.

The NLRB agreed that enough employees — at least 30% — submitted signed cards stating they are represented by a union and allowed for a vote to take place on July 27 and 28, according to organizers with the union Trader Joe’s United.

“We have a majority of support in the store for the union,” organizer Maeg Yosef said last Friday.

NLRB staff will oversee the election at the 375 Russell St. store from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days.

Yosef said that those eligible to vote are the 81 non-supervisory employees known as crew members and merchants. They will answer one question asking if they want to form a union and a simple majority is needed to determine the outcome.

“We’re just really thrilled to finally have an election date and we’re really excited to get the final vote total,” Yosef said. “We’re feeling good right now.”

Results are expected on the July 28, after NLRB staff tally the votes. If the union movement is successful, work will begin to vote on leadership and bargaining committee members in hopes of securing a contract.

“We are happy the dates have been set,” Trader Joe’s spokesperson Nakia Rohde said by email. “Trader Joe’s is a great place to work, and we look forward to our Crew Members having a chance to vote on keeping things as they are or being represented by this SEIU-backed group.”

The SEIU, or Service Employees International Union, is a national body that claims nearly 2 million members in 100 different occupations. Yosef said “it is not true” that Trader Joe’s United is associated with the SEIU, although the company has made that claim before.

“We are not affiliated with anyone and we are not backed by anyone,” she said, describing the union as “independent.”

There are more than 530 Trader Joe’s locations in nearly all states. The Hadley union effort has gained national attention and the blessing of U.S. Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who wrote on Facebook last month that “we support (Trader Joe’s United) and their right to fair pay, benefits, and a safe workplace.”

This week, a Trader Joe’s store in Minneapolis became the second in the country where employees announced their intention to unionize. Yosef said those employees plan to join Trader Joe’s United.

Brian Steele can be reached at bsteele@gazettenet.com.