- People are calling for a boycott on Trader Joe’s after one of its employees was fired.
- A New York man said he was fired from his job after asking the company to do more to protect its workers from COVID-19.
- Ben Bonnema shared his termination letter on Twitter. It ultimately went viral and spurred the boycott.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Trader Joe’s is facing a boycott after firing of one of its New York employees.
Ben Bonnema, a New York man, took to Twitter on Friday to share his experience of being fired from his job at the Trader Joe’s location on New York City’s Upper West Side. He said he had asked the company to better protect its workers against the coronavirus.
Bonnema shared the letter he sent to the grocery chain’s CEO, in which he requested five COVID-19-related changes, including stricter mask requirements, enhanced filtration, and a “three strike policy” for dealing with uncooperative shoppers in the stores.
“We put our lives on the line every day by showing up to work,” he wrote. “Please, show up for us by adopting these policies.”
Bonnema also tweeted the termination letter he received from Trader Joe’s shortly after sending his requests. The company said he did not share the grocery chain’s “core Values.”
—Ben Bonnema (@BenBonnema) February 26, 2021
“In a recent email, you suggest adopting a ‘3 strike’ policy against customers and a policy enforcing the same accommodation for every customer with a medical condition that precludes them from wearing a mask,” the termination letter read. “These suggestions are not in line with our core Values. In addition, you state that Trader Joe’s is not ‘showing up for us’ without adopting your policies. It is clear that you do not understand our Values. As a result, we are no longer comfortable having you work for Trader Joe’s.”
Bonnema’s tweet went viral and spurred other Twitter users to call for a boycott of the grocery chain, which has over 500 locations across the US.
—Damian Keenan (@NorthWestEU) February 28, 2021
—dond (@donnyd26) February 27, 2021
—Michelle Jones (@Michell49685689) February 27, 2021
—Don Milton (@Don_Milton) February 27, 2021
—Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) February 28, 2021
—Rob Gill (@vote4robgill) February 27, 2021
A Twitter account associated with promoting a workers union for the grocery chain showed support for Bonnema on Twitter.
—Crew for a Trader Joe’s Union ✊🌺 (@TraderJoesUnion) February 27, 2021
The company did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment about the calls for a boycott.
A spokesperson for Trader Joe’s told Insider on Saturday that store leadership’s decision to terminate Bonnema stemmed from the “disrespect he showed toward our customers.”
“We have never, and would never, terminate a Crew Member’s employment for raising safety concerns,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The spokesperson added: “Nothing is more important at Trader Joe’s than the safety of our Crew Members and customers,” the spokesperson said. “We encourage all Crew Members to take an active role in store safety, and share their suggestions with leadership. During his short tenure with Trader Joe’s, this Crew Member’s suggestions were listened to, and appropriately addressed.”