• The Los Angeles Times traces rat infestations at a Trader Joe's store in Oakland, California to the calls for unionization that have taken place at the unit - resulting in a filing of a petition this week with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) calling for a union election.
The infestation - employees said they spent time each morning cleaning rat feces until, after two years, the problem was resolved late last year - was just part of the problem. Employees also said that the "company leadership has chipped away at worker benefits and morale," and that "they are seeking a union primarily to address what they see as Trader Joe’s disregard for their physical safety and financial security in the high-priced San Francisco Bay Area."
The Times writes that "three Trader Joe’s stores have voted to join independent union Trader Joe’s United." And, "Like Starbucks and REI — companies that have long cultivated reputations as progressive brands with robust benefits for their service workers — Trader Joe’s has been criticized for its response to worker organizing."
• From The Hill:
"A proposed California bill could ban the sale of Skittles, Hot Tamales candy, Dubble Bubble Twist Gum, and other food items containing chemicals that the legislation’s supporters say are toxic and dangerous.
"Introduced by Assembly members Jesse Gabriel and Buffy Wicks, AB 418 proposes that California stop manufacturing, selling, or distributing foods that contain Red Dye No. 3, Titanium Dioxide, Potassium Bromate, Brominated Vegetable Oil, or Propyl Paraben. These chemicals can cause significant health problems like increased risk of cancer, damage to the immune system and behavioral issues in children, Gabriel’s office said in a news release.
"While many Californians won’t recognize these chemicals by name, they can be found in popular food and drink items. For example, according to Label Insights, Titanium Dioxide can be found in cupcakes, trail mix and ice cream. Propylparaben can be found in caramel chocolate."
• Kohl's announced this week the addition of full-sized Sephora stores to 250 of its units around the country, bringing "the total Sephora at Kohl’s fleet to more than 850, achieving the partnership’s initial planned goal of the Sephora at Kohl’s rollout … In addition to expanding across more than 40 states, Sephora at Kohl’s will enter seven new states in 2023 including Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Utah, bringing Sephora at Kohl’s presence to 48 states."