Workers Claim Indefinite Closure of Capitol Hill Trader Joe’s Is Linked to Their Support of Black Lives Matter
Trader Joe’s employees are penalized for participating in a Black Lives Matter protest.
A Trader Joe’s store in Seattle, Washington, Store #130, has been temporarily closed and workers believe the unanticipated closure is retaliatory in nature. On June 11, a band of employees requested paid time off to attend a Black Lives Matter rally. Store management reluctantly consented and assured the workers that their political activism would go unpunished. Despite granting staff permission to attend the protest, Trader Joe’s corporate office made the executive decision to indefinitely close Store #130 upon learning of its limited staff that day.
Staff requested the day off to protest (6/12) and were met with an email effectively laying them off without pay the same day. Strange to put so many essential workers in such a bad position before Covid has ended but I guess #TraderJoes didn’t notice https://t.co/v1GYpOkzEO
— 🌷仔萌神🌷 (@_OBVUS) June 14, 2020
The band of employees who were penalized for their political activism were appalled by the sudden store closure and swiftly solicited fellow community members to sign a petition challenging the decision. Within merely 24 hours, the petition garnered over 19,000 signatures.
#TraderJoes is this how you support Black Lives?
Capitol Hill Trader Joe’s Crew Members Speak Out After Corporate Closes Store “Indefinitely” https://t.co/FoJfLhlHPi
— Rain (@RainLikely2017) June 14, 2020
Trader Joe’s spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel vehemently denies any retaliatory motives. We want to believe Kenya’s words, but it is worth noting that while Trader Joe’s has publicly championed the movement, it has failed to tangibly support Black Lives Matter. Likewise, the band of penalized employees are notorious for being outspoken and mobilizing to secure a living wage, health insurance for all workers, and enhanced safety precautions against COVID-19. Due to their history of political activism, their relationship with store management is tense.
Hello #TraderJoes, I used to love the CapHill store it seemed like your employees were happy. firing them for having joined that great community’s celebration of human rights is disgusting. As a Portland shopper, you’ve lost me. And I’ll spread the word here, that’s for sure. https://t.co/PLwBUaHVs6
— ignatz rats (@ignatzrats) June 15, 2020
After witnessing the public outrage Whole Foods weathered after the retaliatory firing of an outspoken worker, rival American grocery chains should recognize that silence is compliance and passivity is a recipe for disaster. You shouldn’t have to be called out before you speak up.
To all the grocery stores that have yet to meaningfully contribute to Black Lives Matter: now is the time to be an ally. Everyone should be willing to lend a hand in the fight for racial equity during this time.