Unionization efforts are truly sweeping the city!
Trader Joe’s workers at the recently opened Williamsburg store (200 Kent Avenue) just filed to hold a union election, according to union news site More Perfect Union. 185 workers filed with the independent union, Trader Joe’s United.
“Workers at the New York City store, which opened less than a year ago, say they have faced racial discrimination, poor working conditions, and, lately, union busting while working at Trader Joe’s,” writes Libby Rainey of More Perfect Union. “According to a flyer that workers distributed to customers at the Williamsburg store on Sunday, Trader Joe’s managers last week fired a Black union organizer one day after telling staff that they had learned about efforts to unionize their store.”
Assemblymember Emily Gallagher welcomed the unionizing efforts on Twitter. “They have my total solidarity and support,” she said.
This past July, a Massachusetts store became the first unionized location of the popular supermarket chain. A Minneapolis store quickly followed suit a few weeks later. After workers at the Trader Joe’s Wine Shop in Manhattan started the process to unionize over the summer, they were suddenly informed on August 11 that the store (the only one of its kind in New York State) would be closing, effective immediately. It’s a move that workers believe was retaliatory, though Trader Joe’s cites other concerns, such as the effects of the pandemic and issues with the lease (worth noting — NYU, which owns the building, told Gothamist that there was no change in the lease on their end.)
Trader Joe’s isn’t the only big chain facing an upswing in unionizing efforts. A Starbucks location in Williamsburg voted to unionize in June, joining over 200 stores in the process. However, organizers say that Starbucks has been slow to enter into contract negotiations and is dragging out the process.