Trader Joe’s Broke Law At Union Store: Complaint

Dealer Joe’s could have run afoul of the legislation at a retailer in Minnesota the place staff unionized final yr.

The grocery chain’s administration illegally eliminated union literature from the break room and forbade staff from posting fliers about organizing final November, in keeping with a brand new criticism filed on the Nationwide Labor Relations Board.

A regional director for the labor board wrote within the submitting that, by doing so, Dealer Joe’s was “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights” to arrange.

The criticism was based mostly on a cost filed by the union, Dealer Joe’s United, which received an election on the Minneapolis retailer held final August, 55 to five. The criticism filed final week means labor board officers appeared into the union’s allegations and located benefit in them.

“This is just the beginning of holding Trader Joe’s accountable for the many instances in which they’ve violated our rights as workers.”

– Dealer Joe’s United

Dealer Joe’s United is a brand new, unbiased union that has organized 4 shops since final yr, a part of a wave of union exercise that has hit Amazon, Starbucks, Apple and different big-name retailers since 2021. None of Dealer Joe’s greater than 500 places beforehand had union illustration.

The California-based grocer has mentioned it welcomes a vote at any retailer the place sufficient workers categorical curiosity, however staff have informed HuffPost the corporate has pushed again in opposition to the organizing effort, together with in methods the union alleges have been unlawful.

Dealer Joe’s United mentioned in a press release that it was “thrilled to be making progress on this and the countless other unfair labor practice charges we’ve filed against our employer.”

“This is just the beginning of holding Trader Joe’s accountable for the many instances in which they’ve violated our rights as workers,” the group mentioned.

The union filed separate prices accusing the corporate of constructing staff in Massachusetts take away union pins beneath menace of self-discipline, in addition to surveilling staff and making threats.

“They told me I wasn’t allowed to wear that on my hat,” one worker who’s labored for Dealer Joe’s for nearly a decade informed HuffPost final yr. “Initially, I complied, for the sake of not causing any more trouble.”

Pro-union workers rally outside a Trader Joe's in Manhattan. Trader Joe's United has unionized four stores since last year.
Professional-union staff rally outdoors a Dealer Joe’s in Manhattan. Dealer Joe’s United has unionized 4 shops since final yr.

Spencer Platt through Getty Pictures

There are limits to when and the place staff can distribute union literature to co-workers, however within the Minneapolis case, the regional director says Dealer Joe’s applied an “overly broad prohibition” in opposition to it. In keeping with the criticism, the shop’s supervisor positioned a warning on the bulletin board after staff had positioned union flyers within the break room.

“The breakroom space is reserved for company business, [w]hich is not to be used for any other purpose,” it learn.

A Dealer Joe’s spokesperson didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Tuesday.

Up to now, the union has prevailed in separate elections in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Kentucky and California, and misplaced two in New York Metropolis, together with one by a single vote. Employees say managers have been encouraging them to vote in opposition to the union within the run-up to their elections.

Dealer Joe’s challenged the union’s win in Kentucky, claiming an organizer and lawyer for the union intimidated workers and pressured them to vote “yes.” However a listening to examiner for the labor board just lately heard either side within the case and located no benefit within the firm’s claims. A ultimate willpower has not but been made.

Different corporations have taken a stance in opposition to their staff’ new unions as effectively. Amazon spent greater than $14 million final yr on anti-union consultants who held conferences with staff in a number of warehouses to discourage them from organizing. In the meantime, Starbucks faces scores of labor board complaints for alleged unlawful firings, retailer closures and retaliation in opposition to union supporters.

Correction: This story initially mentioned the alleged violations occurred earlier than the union election. In keeping with the criticism, they occurred after the election.

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