Why Twitter Is Seeing Red Over Trader Joe's Latest Union Response

Grocers have seen their share of unionization efforts in retail stores as they have increased over the past decade. Trader Joe's is among the latest to deal union drives among its workers and people have recently been ringing the bell on Twitter regarding the company's response to that situation so far.

The grocery chain that Joe Coulombe founded hasn't been alone in this regard by any stretch of the imagination. The Verge detailed Amazon's resistance to unionization efforts in Whole Foods stores in 2020 and earlier this year, Reuters reported on a union-backed strike at Kroger-owned King Soopers. The Guardian shared details about mounting efforts to form the first union for Trader Joe's workers in May, which Truthout says has had success to the point of an actual unionization vote at the Hadley, Massachusetts location on July 27 and 28.

BizJournals adds that a second location in Minneapolis filed to form a union in late June as well. According to union supporters on Twitter, Trader Joe's has recently deployed a "classic union-busting effort" in response.

Concessions to stave off unionization?

Tweets from @MorePerfectUS and @TraderJoesUnite on July 21 lay out the situation. The More Perfect Union post shows an image of an apparent Trader Joe's announcement to employees informing them of pay increases plus more paid time off. The tweet from Trader Joe's Unite is a response to that communication. The rumored announcement promises workers an additional week of paid vacation annually. Among the pay rate increases are a $10 per hour premium "on certain holidays," plus Sundays. The announcement states the changes are due to "changes in the market at the present time." Trader Joe's Unite says it knows exactly what market changes the announcement is referring to.

Twitter users argue the pay rate and vacation time hikes are an effort by Trader Joe's to sway the union vote. Responses to the More Perfect Union post read, "All the more reason to get a Union to hold the gains and keep going!" Another user agreed, "And they can take all that away at the drop of a hat without a union." This commotion hasn't been all on Twitter, though. In early June, workers filed complaints against Trader Joe's with the National Labor Relations Board (via HuffPost).

Unlike some popular items that completely vanished from Trader Joe's, this unionization push isn't going to simply disappear any time soon. As far as these Twitter users are concerned, Trader Joe's handling of these circumstances is far less popular than its food items with cult-like followings.