Jamie wore a union pin while working at Trader Joe's in Massachusetts. Some customers said they supported workers trying to unionize the store. The assistant manager didn't like the "Trader Joe's United" button

The Trader Joe's employee said that he wasn't allowed to wear that on his hat. I initially did it because I wanted to not cause any more trouble.

While on a lunch break,Edwards pulled out his phone and read about a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board. Employers can't legally prevent it. The manager got to see what the manager had to say about it.

We were at a stalemate after that. She told him to leave if he insisted on wearing it. I didn't get to work the rest of that shift.

They had to take a few hours off to make sure they didn't lose money. The alleged dismissal is one of a number of unfair labor practice charges filed against Trader Joe's.

Trader Joe's United, an independent effort not affiliated with an established labor group, is being proposed by a group of employees.

They criticized the grocery chain for making it harder to get health care coverage as a part-time worker and for cutting retirement benefits during the Pandemic. They say Trader Joe's retaliated for their activism.

“These tactics do interfere and put pressure on the crew. They are allowing anti-union crew members to be very vocal in the store.”

- Maeg Yosef, Trader Joe's United

In a June 2 filing with the labor board obtained through a public records request, union supporters alleged Trader Joe's retaliated against them by sending Edward home for the day, removing union literature from a common area of the store, and maintaining work rules that prevent workers from talking.

The charges are being investigated by the National Labor Relations Board. The board could bring a case against the grocery store if they found merit in them. If an employer is found to be in violation of the law, it can be forced to change its policy.

Under the assumption that the company will run an anti-union campaign that weakens support, workers can seek a union election if at least 30% of the bargaining unit has signed union authorization cards. Starbucks has organized more than a hundred stores in a matter of months because of a successful unionization attempt at one store.

The company was committed to a fair vote on whether or not to unionize according to a Trader Joe's spokesman.

Trader Joe's compensation, benefits and working conditions are some of the best in the grocery business. If more than 30% of the crew want a vote, we are prepared to hold a vote. A member of the crew stated to the press weeks ago that a majority of the crew agrees with their work. When they are ready, we are ready to vote.

Trader Joe's is facing a union organizing effort in Massachusetts.
Trader Joe's is facing a union organizing effort in Massachusetts.

Jon Basalone, who serves as president of stores for Trader Joe's, visited the location recently, according to Maeg Yosef.

It is common for big companies to send high-level executives to meet with managers and workers to try to stop the organizing drive. Starbucks flew in its long time CEO, Howard Shultz, to speak to workers in Buffalo, New York, and its North America president, Rossann Williams, spent weeks in stores that were considering unionizing.

Jon spends most of his time visiting stores and talking with crew members around the country. Our leadership team practices this.

“She says, ‘If you insist on wearing it, I will have to ask you to go home.’ ... I ended up having to go home and miss the rest of that shift.”

- Jamie Edwards

Yosef said she didn't see Basalone in the store because she was sent home for wearing a union pin as well.

The tactics interfere with the crew. She said that anti-union crew members were allowed to be very vocal. We are trying not to get caught up in it. There would be union busting. We are aware of the company's history and will deal with it.

The break room had union flyers removed from it. She stated that workers put them back up. She said there was a lot of anti-union stuff as well.

Three other workers were told to take their union pins off.

According to a recent copy of Trader Joe's employee handbook obtained by The Huffington Post, workers can't add anything to their uniforms except for the approval of their captain.

When a button on a uniform poses a safety hazard, the National Labor Relations Board has found that employers can only ban union emblems. Workers argue that their employers handbook rules are too broad and violate their right to join together to improve working conditions.

Trader Joe's United doesn't have its own lawyers. They plan to file more charges against the company with the labor board because labor lawyers have been telling workers what their rights are.

There are things I expect to happen. Managers will be put under pressure. People will do what their boss tells them to do.