Trader Joe’s

This Business

May 2024 - Trader Joe’s | 2nd Runner Up

Trader Joe’s bookends the Bad Business Awards this quarter with bags of groceries. 

The winners were cited for their financial shenanigans that have helped keep prices high. The Second Runner up is cited for its blatant attempts to keep workers’ salaries low by keeping unions at bay.

The Huffington Post put it bluntly: “Prosecutors at the National Labor Relations Board say Trader Joe’s illegally interrogated workers and threatened to take away their pay raises when they were trying to form a union last year.”

Along with companies like Amazon and SpaceX, Trader Joe’s has “filed legal challenges aimed at declaring the NLRB unconstitutional, accusing it of overreach and violating the separation of powers” signifying a “significant escalation in the ongoing struggle between labor rights advocates and corporate interests.”

As reported by the Guardian the move against government oversight seeks to return U.S. labor relations to the “law of the jungle”. The hard-edged tactics by the company fly in the face of how Trader Joe’s otherwise markets itself as a customer-friendly, meme-worthy, well-meaning retailer.

The point was made by what the San Francisco Chronicle called the current frenzy over Trader Joe’s $2.99 mini-tote. Style and culture magazine Dazed saw behind the tote!

The frenzy, Dazed said, “would be a little more palatable if Trader Joe’s wasn’t currently embroiled in a battle with its workers’ union.

“Maybe the next time TikTokers embroider daisies onto their tote bags, they can smatter a couple on the legal documents? A lawsuit calling for the dissolution of a federal agency that protects workers rights is cool and all, but do you wanna know what’s better? An embroidered one!”

Workers’ rights are too important an element in the design of profitable and supportive capitalism. Perhaps Trader Joe’s would be better to print that slogan on their next set of totes.

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