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Why Louisville Trader Joe’s Employees Voted To Unionize

Above Photo: Brynn Anderson/AP.

‘A Game Changing Decision.’

The First Trader Joe’s Location In The South Affiliated With Trader Joe’s United.

Louisville, Kentucky – Employees at the only Trader Joe’s store in Louisville voted in favor of organizing Thursday evening, becoming the third location of the national grocery chain to form a union.

The store’s workers will now be a part of the Trader Joe’s United, the guild for employees across the country. The employees who voted in favor of unionizing won their vote 48-36, a release said, after taking action to do so in September.

“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.

A request for comment sent to Trader Joe’s corporate Thursday night was not immediately returned. Union supporters had accused the company of “documented anti-union activity” leading up to the vote, sharing a HuffPost article Thursday that included images of flyers posted in the store’s breakroom that the supporters said had been put up at the store beforehand in an attempt to scare off employees considering voting in favor.

Hovey, who has worked in the store for four years, said the employees want to negotiate better salaries and benefit packages, along with an accountability system and a more effective time-off system. But he said they are “excited” to hear what people in the store think should be proposed.

“We proved that we can defy the odds against a national chain that has experienced legal teams at the helm,” Hovey said.

“national chain of neighborhood grocery stores,” Trader Joe’s was founded in 1967 in Pasadena, California, and now has more than 500 locations across the country. Louisville’s store opened in 2011, Business First reported at the time.

Employees at two other Trader Joe’s locations – one in Massachusetts, one in Minnesota – voted last year in favor of unionizing.

Union leaders will join company officials at the bargaining table next week on Tuesday and Wednesday, the release said.

The vote by employees at the local Trader Joe’s store, a key tenant of the Shelbyville Road Plaza at 4600 Shelbyville Road, marks the latest unionization effort in Louisville. Workers at four Starbucks coffee shops in Louisville have voted in favor of forming a union within the past year, along with Sunergos Coffee and Heine Brothers’ Coffee employees.

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