Workers at the Trader Joe’s Wine Shop ... 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.
In a statement to Gothamist, a company spokesperson said that its decision to close the store had nothing to do with the unionizing efforts.
A spokesperson called the 15-year-old outpost on 14th Street at Irving Place an "underperforming wine shop."
Meanwhile, the workers, whom Trader Joe's said they would pay through Aug. 28, have launched a petition demanding that the store reopen as it heads into the busy back-to-school season. petition reads in part:
Like our customers, we were shocked and saddened by the abrupt closure of the Trader Joe’s Wine Shop in Union Square. Most of the staff has been with the company for over 5 years, some since the store opened 15 years ago, and we have loved being part of the neighborhood and our customers’ lives for so long.Trader Joe's is not being transparent about its motives for closing the shop. This sudden closure comes just days after our coworkers in Minneapolis, MN, and Hadley, MA, successfully voted to unionize.Management in our store knew we were having organizing conversations and were planning on signing union support cards. Closing our store is textbook union busting. This kind of retaliation is exactly why we want a union at the Wine Shop — to guarantee we have real job security, consistent schedules, and wages we can live on.
Previously on EV Grieve:
• Here's the midnight email that employees of the Trader Joe's Wine Shop received about the closing on Union Square (Aug. 12)