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Kentucky Trader Joe’s Employees Vote to Unionize

Store workers vote 48-36 to join recently launched Trader Joe’s United
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Trader Joe's employees in Louisville, Ky., are looking to unionize in an effort to negotiate better salaries and benefits packages.

Team members at a Trader Joe’s in Louisville, Ky., voted last week to join a union, according to local reports. Employee efforts to unionize began in September, and the 48-36 vote puts the team members on track to join the Trader Joe's United national union.

"We are so excited to be the first Trader Joe’s location affiliated with Trader Joe’s United in the south. It’s a game changing decision that will contribute massively to the modern labor movement," Connor Hovey, an employee of the store and union organizer, told The Courier Journal in Louisville.

[Read more: "Trader Joe’s Eyes New Locations"]

Hovey said employees at the Louisville store would like to negotiate better salaries and benefits packages, as well as a more effective time-off system. Union leaders are expected to meet with company officials this week for bargaining.

Workers at a Hadley, Mass., Trader Joe’s voted 45-31 last July to form a union and launch Trader Joe’s United. Those team members took action based on concerns about their safety, wages and benefits, particularly their retirement plans that were the target of corporate cuts. 

At the time, the union released a statement, declaring, “The victory is historic, but not a surprise. 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,”

For its part, Trader Joe’s said its package of pay, benefits and working conditions is among the best in the grocery industry. A statement released by the company after the Massachusetts decision read, in part: “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 an job flexibility.”

Employees at a Trader Joe’s location in Minneapolis also voted to join Trader Joe’s United last year by a vote of 55-5. According to local reports, team members at a Trader Joe’s location in Colorado are preparing to unionize.

With more than 500 stores in 40-plus states, Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s is No. 27 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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