Trader Joe’s isn’t big on public relations and social media but its Monrovia, California corporate office has responded to CHS’s inquiry about the strange and sudden shuttering of the Capitol Hill store that employees say is retaliation for employee actions in support of Black Lives Matter protests and labor issues at the E Madison grocery.
A company spokesperson confirmed the employee group’s assertion that the location was closed Friday because “we did not have enough Crew Members available to run the store.” But Trader Joe’s says its “temporary” closure is about construction work, not protests.
“During this temporary closure, we are taking the time to execute a remodel plan to address safety and security concerns that have developed over the last year,” the spokesperson said via email. “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 company spokesperson has not responded to phone calls or our attempts to follow up specifically about how the protest and employee involvement factored into the decision to close the store.
“I can assure you no Crew Members have been terminated,” the spokesperson did say.
CHS reported here on Friday’s sudden closure and employee group call for support to try to keep store #130 open. “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,” a statement from the employee group on the situation reads. “We know that the company will try to avoid the appearance of being antagonistic to the movement.” The group has posted a petition for customers to support the workers and “save” the store.
During the closure, Trader Joe’s say it is “continuing to pay our Crew Members for their scheduled shifts” and “perishable product that would expire prior to re-opening will be donated to our neighborhood food banks.”
“We appreciate that this is an inconvenience and value the patience and understanding of our customers,” the company spokesperson said.
UPDATE: Thanks to a CHS reader, here’s proof from the Food Bank at St. Mary’s that Trader Joe’s kept its word on the donations.
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