Trader Joe’s workers, company dispute reason for closure of Seattle store

Jun 15, 2020, 12:10 PM | Updated: 12:31 pm

Trader Joe's Seattle labor laws...

The Trader Joe's location in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. (Joe Wolf, Flickr Creative Commons)

Over the weekend, residents of Capitol Hill were surprised to find out that a popular Trader Joe’s location at 1700 Madison Street had abruptly closed. The reason as to why has been disputed by employees of the store and the company itself.

WA Department of Health: ‘No reason’ to disinfect groceries

Employees claim in an online petition that the company closed the location down in retaliation for workers participating in a protest in support of Black Lives Matter on June 12. Workers say they informed management a day in advance that they would be participating in the protest, and were told their absence would be excused.

Because it left the location short-staffed, the decision was made to close early on Friday, June 12.

“On the morning of June 12, a representative from TJs corporate called the store to ask about the early closure,” the petition describes. “Unsatisfied with the rationale for the early closure, corporate informed store management that the store would be closed indefinitely, effective immediately.”

“We, a group of Store #130 workers who wish to remain anonymous, believe it’s no coincidence that the store was abruptly closed on the day that dozens of us took action in support of the movement for Black lives,” the petition continues.

Photos: Thousands attend weekend protests across Seattle

An official statement from Trader Joe’s disputes that claim, noting that the closure of the 1700 Madison Street location is in fact temporary. As for the reasoning, the company says that the initial closure was part of a larger plan to “execute a remodel plan to address safety and security concerns that have developed over the last year.”

“We will reopen the store as soon as these construction projects are completed, and it is our hope that we can welcome back our customers in the next week or two,” the statement reads, noting that employees of the store will still be paid for their scheduled shifts during construction.

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Trader Joe’s workers, company dispute reason for closure of Seattle store