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Labor Board will hear union complaints against Trader Joe's on Tuesday

Trader Joe's in Hadley, Massachusetts.
Nirvani Williams
Trader Joe's in Hadley, Massachusetts.

The National Labor Relations Board will hear complaints on Tuesday against Trader Joe's by the union representing workers at the company's Hadley, Massachusetts, store.

The complaints include several allegations of retaliation for union activism.

Union spokesperson Maeg Yosef said the union is hoping for two remedies in particular: the reinstatement of an employee the union says was improperly fired, and the boosting of a retirement plan considered less generous for union workers than for non-union.

Yosef said getting this far with the labor board took a lot of effort.

"It's really nerve-wracking for a lot of folks to go and testify against your employer," she said. "So the fact that we got all these pieces in place, that the NLRB found merit in our charges, is — I think — in itself a victory."

Trader Joe's did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

The Hadley store was the first of the chain's stores to unionize, in July 2022.

Yosef said the union and the company are still negotiating a contract.

"That first contract is notoriously difficult to get (but) we have more rights and we still have more protections so that our employer can no longer unilaterally change our working conditions and benefits," she said.

But Yosef added there has also been "tension and strain" at the store.

Recently, some workers have started an effort to decertify the union.

One of the union opponents, Leslie Stratford, said in an email that almost half of the employees at the Hadley store have signed a petition to disband the union.

Karen Brown is a radio and print journalist who focuses on health care, mental health, children’s issues, and other topics about the human condition. She has been a full-time radio reporter for NEPM since 1998.
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