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Trader Joe’s files new objections over Louisville store’s union election

Workers at the Trader Joe's in the Shelbyville Road Plaza voted in favor of unionizing in January.
Jacob Munoz
Workers at the Trader Joe's in the Shelbyville Road Plaza voted in favor of unionizing in January.

Trader Joe’s is challenging a vote from January in favor of unionizing the company’s store in Louisville. The grocer claims union supporters disrupted a fair election and is now pushing back on a federal agency’s recommendation to overrule its complaints.

An official with the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees private-sector union elections, said in a report last month that Trader Joe’s did not sufficiently support its claims.

On Monday, the company filed objections to that report. In the brief Trader Joe’s argues the NLRB official “made flawed credibility determinations, failed to apply the appropriate legal standards, and ignored relevant facts in the record.”

Eric Taylor, the NLRB’s Region 9 director, will decide whether to sustain the company’s objections and order a new election to take place. The timeline for that decision is not clear.

Trader Joe’s did not respond to a request for comment.

In January, workers voted to become the company’s third store in the U.S. to unionize.

Morgan Gillenwater, an employee at Trader Joe’s Louisville and union supporter, said the process since the election has been a frustrating experience.

“I think it just says a lot [about] how scared the company is of change and how afraid they are of their crew members having a voice,” Gillenwater said.

Trader Joe’s accused Gillenwater of misconduct relating to the election.

Seth Goldstein, an attorney with the New York law firm Julien, Mirer, Singla and Goldstein PLLC, is representing the Louisville union effort. He is also being accused by Trader Joe’s of misconduct related to the election and said the company’s legal actions are meant to delay the NLRB from certifying the union.

“The [NLRB], I think, put themselves in a position where now they have to use all these resources to review a case that really is ridiculous,” Goldstein said.

He estimated it could take a couple of months for a decision to be made. A similar challenge has lasted more than a year at an Amazon warehouse in New York where Goldstein also represents union supporters.

Jacob is LPM's Business and Development Reporter. Email Jacob at jmunoz@lpm.org.

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