Target directing store managers to prevent workers from organizing | american unions
Leaked training documents from Target, one of the largest retailers in the United States, reveal how the company directs store management to prevent workers from organizing unions.
In late January 2022, Target emailed store management new labor relations training guidelines to complete, urging managers to look for warning signs of worker organizing and unions in their stores. stores and to coordinate with the company’s human resources to suppress union organizing campaigns.
The email and training materials were leaked anonymously to labor advocacy group Target Workers Unite and come as other major US chains, including Amazon and Starbucks, fight union plans.
“This training will help you understand Target’s philosophy on unions and how unions could impact our brand and our team,” reads an introductory slide for the training.
The training goes on to describe unions as “a business that makes money from dues and fees paid by its members”, but then explains that a union is formed when employees come together and express a desire to be represented by a union, usually through an electoral process.
Target warns that a union could reduce flexibility and restrict job descriptions, increase operational costs and create conflict between managers and employees. The company insists that it prefers to work directly with its workers rather than negotiating directly with workers represented by a union.
“We don’t believe that a union or any other third-party representative would improve anything – not for our team members, not for our guests, not for the company,” the formation states.
Target also claims in the training that the company is not “union busting,” but rather “professional and guest team member.”
Managers are informed during training that their essential role in leadership is to create an environment where workers do not feel the need to organize a union, and provides managers with training on how to identify and Intervene in any worker behavior that signals dissatisfaction with working conditions and signals potential warning signs of unionization.
Some examples included small gatherings of workers, the emergence of employees as leaders to voice their concerns, seeing workers meet with recently laid off workers, and work-related conversations between employees regarding issues such as compensation, benefits benefits, job security or other grievances.
The formation also flagged “unusual activity,” such as union flyers distributed in store parking lots or missing company documents such as schedules or payrolls.
“Early detection and response to signs of unionization is key to maintaining a union-free environment,” the formation says.
The training includes a Q&A section on different theoretical scenarios prompting managers to take action in response to signs of union organizing, such as monitoring worker engagement on worker-related blogs or social media pages, and informing human resources for advice on appropriate action.
Adam Ryan, a Target Workers Unite organizer and Target employee in Christiansburg, Va., said the training materials were leaked from his store shortly after his flyers to promote a local labor event presentation. Black people in Richmond, Virginia for Black History Month. co-hosted by Target Workers Unite, were removed from the break room.
“I confronted HR about it. We still have a standing NLRB settlement. [National Labor Relations Board] in 2018 and removing the flyer was in violation of this policy. I argued with them that the non-solicitation policies would be true, but they did not consistently enforce those policies,” Ryan said.
He claimed the bulletin board at the time included non-work related content, such as a memorial for Betty White and new baby photos of employees and that managers began interviewing employees individually shortly after the incident. incident on work-related issues, such as directed labor relations training.
Ryan is currently involved in a union card authorization campaign at his store in an effort to gain enough support from his co-workers to form a union with which Target must directly negotiate a contract.
“If you look at the training, they try to say that they are not anti-union, that they are professional guests and members of the professional team, but they would not have these trainings imposed on the management of our stories if they were ‘We’re not actually trying to break unions and stop us from exercising our rights,” Ryan said. “Target is no better than any other company. from a big game they say they’re this very progressive company that cares about their workers but when workers start exercising their rights they react like any other company that doesn’t want a union come.
Andrew Stacy, a Target employee in Indianapolis, Indiana, for more than two years who is also trying to organize his co-workers to form a union, encountered similar issues, for which he has since filed an unfair labor practice complaint with of the National Labor Relations Board.
In December 2021, Stacy explained that he was distributing union flyers with a colleague and a manager confiscated and removed the flyers, then questioned his colleague about it.
Labor relations training, Stacy argued, undermined the company’s claims to be worker-friendly.
“It shows how little Target thinks about us, that we don’t know what we want, and that they know what’s best for us,” Stacy said. “This anti-union training, that unions are a business is 100% false. We are the union. The unions are the workers and what I organize in my store is a grassroots effort.