by Dave Jamieson
August 17, 2022
Workers at the Trader Joe’s Wine Shop in Manhattan spent the last four months laying the groundwork to unionize their store. A small organizing committee met regularly to discuss strategy around building support to join the United Food and Commercial Workers union, and they planned to go public with their effort the week of Aug. 15.
But in the early morning hours of Aug. 11, Trader Joe’s abruptly informed them it was closing the popular wine shop, its only one in New York City.
Robert “Rab” Bradlea, a worker at the store and member of the committee, was blindsided when he woke up to texts about the closure last Thursday. Like three other workers from the store interviewed by HuffPost, Bradlea said he sees only one logical reason for it.
“They’re hoping this dissuades other workers from doing the same thing we’ve done,” the five-year Trader Joe’s veteran said.
Bradlea said conversations with coworkers had led the committee to believe there were at least 22 “yes” votes among the 30 or so workers they expected would be eligible to unionize. They planned to have supporters sign union cards this week and quickly submit them to the National Labor Relations Board by Friday to petition for an election.