July 22, 2024

After Losing Vote, Union Vows to Try Again at Target

The National Labor Relations Board announced on Saturday morning that 137 workers had voted against joining the union, the United Food and Commercial Workers, while 85 workers had voted for it. The unionization drive sought to make the store on Long Island the first of Target’s 1,750 stores in the United States to be unionized.

In a statement, the president of U.F.C.W. Local 1500, Bruce W. Both, said that the workers at the Valley Stream store had endured a “campaign of threats, intimidation and illegal acts by Target management.” As a result, he called on the National Labor Relations Board to direct a new election and order Target to cease its “illegal activity.”

Responding to the union’s allegations, Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman, denied that the company had engaged in any intimidation or illegal practices. “Target believes we have followed all laws as outlined by the National Labor Relations Board,” she said.

At the Valley Stream store on Saturday morning, Derek Jenkins, Target’s senior vice president for stores in the Northeast, hailed the results and said, “At Target, it has always been our goal to have a culture where our team members don’t want or need union representation.”

In the days before the vote, union officials said a victory would be a coup that would create momentum for organizing drives at retail stores elsewhere in New York and across the country. Target executives repeatedly told the store’s 250 hourly employees that no union was needed and that the union would make work rules more rigid and make it harder for Target to compete.

“Target did everything they could to deny these workers a chance at the American dream,” said Mr. Both, of the union local. “However, the workers’ pursuit of a better life and the ability to house and feed their families is proving more powerful. These workers are not backing down from this fight. They are demanding another election. They are demanding a fair election.”

During the organizing drive, pro-union workers said the main issues included low wages and work assignments that often totaled just 10 or 20 hours a week — not enough, they said, to support themselves or their children.

The union filed a complaint with the labor board last month asserting that Target had unlawfully prohibited employees from wearing pro-union buttons and from discussing working conditions on online sites. It also said Target had unlawfully threatened employees with dismissal if they spoke about the union.

In meetings and fliers, Target officials told employees that a union could not guarantee better pay or benefits and that the organization only wanted their dues. In a move that worried numerous workers, the company said there were no guarantees that the store would remain open if the workers unionized.

“Target is committed to fostering an inclusive and respectful culture,” Mr. Jenkins said. “We believe in solving issues and concerns by working together with the help and input of all team members. Our team has embraced that philosophy by rejecting union representation.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=0440f46226f79486082edafe94b123d9

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