Trader Joe’s new labor policy will require part-time workers to work at least three days a week, disgruntled workers | Amaria M.

Part-timers are under pressure to work longer hours and many say it puts a strain on parenting, school and other commitments.

picture bySprew, Own work, Public domain

**This article is based on information from news websites, cited in the article**

Trader Joe’s, a specialty grocery store chain in the United States employing more than 50,000 employees in more than 530 locations, is imposing an unofficial new work policy effective January 2023. According to a recent report, the new policy will require all employees work at least 3 -weekly working day to remain employed in the company (source).

A Trader Joe’s employee, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal, said management says the policy changes are due to hiring issues. Other reasons given include a desire to build employee engagement and job knowledge, according to a news source.

The employee also said he found out about the new policy in August, when he tried to reduce work days to one or two days a week to free up time to start his own business. Another worker was affected by the policy because she wanted to switch to reduced hours when transitioning to work after maternity leave (source).

Another employee said:

In October, our captain started having conversations with anyone who worked less than three days a week, to see what we would think about increasing our hours and days to stay employed.

The employee confirmed that many workers were upset with the mandatory hours policy. A Trader Joe union organizer made the following statement:

This is a concerning change, as this policy will unfairly discriminate against parents, students, older crew members for whom Trader Joe’s is a “retirement job”, disabled crew members, veteran crew members who have reduced hours of work due to work injuries and other crew members who need to work one or two days a week. Flexibility is one of the attractions of the job, and many people have come to depend on this part-time option.

The employee calls the new policy an ultimatum and a threat that is turned into something different. He hypothetically wondered if people were supposed to say no to working longer hours or being made redundant. He further stated that employees agree to increase their working hours out of fear (source).

At least two Trader Joe’s locations will not initiate the new policy because they are unionized stores. And the policy cannot be implemented without negotiation with the union, which has problems with the new policy. It is estimated that unionized stores have around 15% of crew members working only one or two days a week (source).


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