Staff at the Trader Joe’s store on the Lower East Side, called Essex Crossing, have filed to unionize with the independent organization Trader Joe’s United, which already represents workers at some of the grocery giant’s stores in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Kentucky.
If the National Labor Relations Board approves their application and the organizers win a vote, they will be the chain’s first unionized workforce in New York. They must be allowed to present their case fully and fairly, without bad faith intrusion by management.
The store organizers have highlighted certain specific problems, such as the abrupt end of COVID hazard pay in 2021 and the alleged lack of processes to deal with health and safety issues, as motivators for the union campaign, but there need not be any special reason to launch a union. effort. Despite what some companies may say, workplaces are not families, and employees of companies large and small have had the right to determine how they want to be represented with management for nearly a century.
This doesn’t mean that workers at the Delancey St. location decide to join TJU (and, in fact, an earlier effort at the company’s Williamsburg store failed), but it does mean that the location’s 150 or so employees should receive the option to make your choice without interference, subterfuge, deceptive marketing, endless captive audience meetings, or whatever other anti-union tactics are in vogue these days.
It certainly means that Trader Joe’s, a company that markets itself as some kind of socially and environmentally conscious corporation that rejects the basic, profit-maximizing ways of its ruthless peers, should not resort to dirty tricks like closing the store of groceries, as he did with his 14th St. wine store suspiciously close to when employees had been planning a union effort. Apparently, that was to move the store to another location, over seven months ago. Where’s that new wine shop, by the way, Trader Joe’s? We haven’t seen it.