Workers in a Bull Moose store in New Hampshire have voted to unionize, about four months after the company’s management abruptly closed the store and fired all the employees.

The Maine-based chain of music and video stores rehired the workers, reopened the store and apologized for its actions three weeks later, without ever explaining why it made the abrupt decision. Workers said the action appeared to come after employees complained about the company’s decision to allow unmasked customers in the store.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445 said the Salem store employees voted unanimously to join the union, which has 12,000 members in the grocery, health care and other industries in New England. The union said it was preparing to open talks with the company on a contract for the store employees.

In a statement, Bull Moose said it was surprised by the workers’ decision to join a union because it has been talking to employees at its 11 stores in Maine and New Hampshire about their concerns since the Salem store’s reopening in June.

“Since June, we’ve been listening to our 11 Bull Moose retail teams, and we’ve been making great progress implementing their feedback,” the company said in a statement. “Given where we are in that process, we’re surprised by this news out of the Salem location.”

Workers said they voted to join a union because many of the problems they had faced before this spring remained. The decision on masks was a catalyst, they said, because store employees had angry confrontations with customers over the mask mandate last winter, but there were other problems before that became an issue.

Many said they were harassed by customers and store managers failed to back them up, instead seeking to mollify customers.

“We want to make sure that any future or current employee of Bull Moose feels valued and safe and that they are being treated with dignity and respect from every member of management,” Kameron Brooksmoore, a Bull Moose employee in the Salem store, said in a statement issued by the union.

The workers reached out to the union, officials at UF&CW said, and voted to join the union Tuesday.


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