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Employees at Trader Joe’s in Hadley look to form union

  • Shoppers wait in line outside Trader Joe’s in Hadley in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, March 21, 2020. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO



Staff Writer
Monday, May 23, 2022

HADLEY — Employees at the Trader Joe’s in Hadley are attempting to form a union, which if successful would make their workplace the first unionized Trader Joe’s in the country.

“We feel that a union is the only way to protect the benefits that we have and to improve our pay and to improve our benefits and improve our workplace,” said Maeg Yosef, an 18-year employee of Trader Joe’s and an organizer of the union.

The union effort at Store 512 went public on Saturday, with a letter from the union to Trader Joe’s CEO Dan Bane saying that more than half of the workers at the store support forming a union, and asking that he allow a union vote without interference.

Their letter also references a letter sent to the workers two years ago by Bane that expressed opposition to employees unionizing. The employees’ letter also said that benefits have been slashed since Bane sent this letter two years ago.

Asked about reductions in benefits, Yosef said that the retirement contribution from Trader Joe’s that used to be equal to 15% of a worker’s pay a year was first dropped to 10%, and then last summer this guarantee was eliminated entirely.

The union being organized at the Hadley store is an independent union, under the name Trader Joe’s United.

“We know our jobs best,” Yosef said, when asked why they chose to go the independent route. “We really want the autonomy to decide for ourselves.”

She also said that the store has a supermajority of support of about 65% of its employees, although not everyone who is a supporter has signed a card. And Yosef said that filing for the union election is imminent.

Additionally, Yosef said their store’s captain has assured employees that the vote will be fair, and promised not to delay the process.

“We love the managers that we work with,” Yosef said.

Trader Joe’s, headquartered in Monrovia, Calif., did not respond to a request for comment Sunday afternoon.