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Trader Joe’s workers vote yes to first unionized store

Trader Joe’s is getting its first union location after workers at a store in Hadley, Massachusetts, voted to unionize, joining a wave of labor organizing in retail that has swept companies including Amazon, Apple and Starbucks. 

Workers voted 45 to 31 to join Trader Joe’s United, an independent union unaffiliated with a larger labor group. “We are incredibly proud of the work we have done together to win this union election, but winning is just the beginning,” the union said on Twitter.

A second union election is set for a Trader Joe’s in Minneapolis on August 11-12, while United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 on Tuesday filed a union election petition for a Boulder, Colorado, store.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Trader Joe’s called the company’s pay and benefits package “among the best in the grocery business” and said the company was “prepared to immediately begin discussions with union representatives for the employees at this store to negotiate a contract.”

“We are willing to use any current union contract for a multi-state grocery company with stores in the area, selected by the union representatives, as a template to negotiate a new structure for the employees in this store; including pay, retirement, health care, and working conditions such as scheduling and job flexibility,” Trader Joe’s said in a statement. 

The company has seven days to file an objection, but the spokesperson did not indicate if it would do so.

Trader Joe’s workers who led the labor push said they were inspired by Starbucks, where more than 200 stores have voted to unionize despite staunch opposition from the company. 

Workers at several Apple and Amazon locations have also launched organizing campaigns. So far this year, more requests for union elections have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board than all of last year, the NLRB said.

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