The Guardian reports that Trader Joe's "is rolling out new, unofficial policies at stores across the US starting in January 2023 … that will mandate part-time workers work a minimum of three days a week to maintain their employment with the company."
According to the story, employees - who wanted to remain anonymous because of concerns about retaliation - "claimed management said the changes were being made because of hiring issues, wanting workers to be more engaged and knowledgable on the job, and complaints that part-time and full-time workers received the same wage raises."
There are also charges that Trader Joe's is making the change as part of its resistance to unionization.
From the Guardian story:
"'It’s a concerning change because this policy will unfairly discriminate against parents, students, older crew for whom Trader Joe’s is a ‘retirement job’, crew with disabilities, veteran crew who have cut back their hours due to work injuries, and other crew members that need to work one or two days a week. Flexibility is one of the draws of the job, and a lot of folks have come to depend on this part-time option,' said Maeg Yosef, a longtime Trader Joe’s worker and union organizer in Hadley, Massachusetts.
"She estimated about 15% of crew members at the unionized stores work one or two days a week."
Trader Joe's reportedly has not commented on the changes.
- KC's View:
While I understand the issues regarding parents, students and older workers, and would hope that exceptions could be made in such cases, I think there is a lot to be said for an employment approach that wants employees to be more engaged in the company - spending more time there, with a better appreciation for the culture and understanding of the products and value proposition. It isn't just enough to be wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
I've long felt that one of the ways that retailers can differentiate themselves in the marketplace is with a greater percentage of full-time workers with a real investment in the company. Sure, it changes the economics of running stores, but it also could result in higher sales and greater productivity that could mitigate some of those costs.