Employees at a Trader Joe’s location in Hadley, Massachusetts, voted Thursday in favor of forming the chain’s first-ever union. The final count was 45 to 31, according to the Associated Press.
“This victory is historic, but not a surprise,” the independent union Trader Joe’s United tweeted after the vote. “Since the moment we announced our campaign, a majority of the crew have enthusiastically supported our union, and despite the company’s best efforts to bust us, our majority has never wavered.”
The Trader Joe’s corporate office now has seven days to respond to the vote. It is not yet clear whether management will file an objection; however, the company has already released a statement defending the pay, benefits, and favorable working environment that its employees enjoy. The statement opened the door to the possibility of negotiations nonetheless.
“We are prepared to immediately begin discussions with union representatives for the employees at this store to negotiate a contract,” company spokesperson Nakia Rohde said. “We are willing to use any current union contract for a multi-state grocery company with stores in the area. . . as a template to negotiate a new structure for the employees in this store; including pay, retirement, healthcare, and working conditions such as scheduling and job flexibility.”
Employees affiliated with at least two other Trader Joe’s locations are also launching unionization campaigns. Workers at a Minneapolis store have scheduled a vote for August 11 and 12. And earlier this week, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 filed a union election petition with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of Trader Joe’s employees at a location in Boulder, Colorado.
The success of Trader Joe’s United in Western Massachusetts follows similar moves by employees at Apple, Amazon, and Starbucks, where workers at more than 200 company-owned coffeeshops have voted in favor of unions since last December, according to The New York Times.