Target Used Anti-Union Intimidation, Labor Ruling Shows
Gawker's Hamilton Nolan has done a great job following the fight for unionizaiton at Target stores, and the subsequent crackdown by the corporation.
If you remember, Target employees at a Valley Stream store tried to unionize but lost after a vote and many allegations of intimidation. Now they've got the ruling from the NRLB that confirms this:
Davis ruled that Target managers unlawfully threatened and interrogated employees. (He also found, somewhat hilariously, that Target's employee handbook was full of blatantly unlawful rules for employees.) A new union election will be held at the Valley Stream store.
Gawker has the excerpts from the ruling posted as images on its site. The threats issued to the employees who wanted to unionize seem to have had some weight behind them, as Nolan notes, the store is now closed for a "remodeling" job:
Employees were informed in March that the store would shut down at the end of April and not reopen until mid-November. All "team members in good standing" were offered the exciting chance to take an unpaid leave for those six months; they can also put in for a transfer to another store (if it happens to have open positions), or just be paid through June and say goodbye. The UFCW notes (and Target confirms) that only one other Target location in the country is being closed for a similar remodeling, and that one is being closed for a far shorter period of time. So, the only almost-unionized Target store is also the only store the company needed to shut down for seven months. Not suspicious at all.
It's part of the pattern. In the New York Times, middle-of-the-road liberal type columnist Joe Nocera ponders Timothy Noah's book The Great Divergence and acknowledges that declining support for unions has led to a decline in quality of life:
The result is that today unions represent 12 percent of the work force. “Draw one line on a graph charting the decline in union membership, then superimpose a second line charting the decline in middle-class income share,” writes Noah, “and you will find that the two lines are nearly identical.” Richard Freeman, a Harvard economist, has estimated that the decline of unions explains about 20 percent of the income gap.
This makes perfect sense, of course. Company managements don’t pay workers any more than they have to — look, for instance, at Walmart, one of the most virulently antiunion companies in the country.
And Target, too.