Workers at Trader Joe’s in Hadley try to form grocer’s first union

The organizers claim Trader Joe's has been cutting their benefits.

Customers walk to a Trader Joe's market, Aug. 13, 2019, in Cambridge, Mass. Employees of a Trader Joe's grocery store in Hadley, Massachusetts have joined the surge of food service and retail workers nationwide trying to join a union to better their working conditions and benefits. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

In the midst of a countrywide push for unions at large, chain companies, a group of workers at a Trader Joe’s in Hadley is trying to form the grocer’s first union.

In a letter to the company’s CEO, Dan Bane, that was posted to Trader Joe’s Unite Twitter account Saturday, the group says that a majority of workers at the store support forming a union.

“We believe that forming a union is a necessary next step for us,” the letter reads.

The group of employees claims that in March 2020, Bane sent a letter to workers’ residences arguing against unionization. It says that Bane accused unions of “driving discontent” in stores.


“Since that letter arrived in our mailboxes, Trader Joe’s has continued to slash our benefits as our wages stagnate and our safety concerns go unaddressed,” the group wrote.

“We’ve come to the conclusion that, in fact, a union is the only way to protect and improve our pay and benefits. The company’s actions have made that clear.”

The letter states that no union attempted to unionize workers at the store, but that they instead organized among themselves while reaching out to a union for “legal and logistical support.”

“If nothing else, we know how to work hard,” the letter reads. “We understand teamwork and how to get things done. This union will be no exception.”

The Boston Globe reported Monday that Trader Joe’s declined to comment, but forwarded the newspaper a letter the company said was posted for crew members in the Hadley store that was written by the store’s manager.

The Globe reported that the letter says the company welcomes a fair vote and that it will not try to delay holding the election.


“I believe our store is a great place to work and our compensation, benefits and working conditions are the best in the grocery business,” the manager’s letter reads.


“But what really matters is what you believe. Whether or not to sign a petition to unionize or vote in favor of a union is your decision to make.”

This union push comes only a few years after Trader Joe’s was named one of the world’s best employers by Forbes in 2019.

The California-based company did face backlash at the beginning of the pandemic from employees who accused it of not doing enough to protect them from the virus.

Other Trader Joe’s locations have tried to unionize in the past, but none have been successful.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted her support for the union push at the Hadley store Monday.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com