May 2011, Week 4


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Tue, 24 May 2011 21:26:06 -0400
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Target Workers Begin to Unionize - Massive Effort at Retail 

Union Effort Turns Its Focus to Target

By Steven Greenhouse
New York Times
May 24, 2011


In the world of big-box discounters, Target enjoys a
reputation as a model corporate citizen that sells the latest
in cheap chic. That's a sharp contrast to the image of Wal-
Mart, the world's largest retailer, which labor unions have
pilloried for years, accusing it of providing skimpy wages
and benefits and skirting various labor laws.

But the arrows are about to come flying at Target's famous
bull's-eye logo. The nation's largest union for retail
workers has embarked on its first broad campaign to unionize
Target workers.

The union, the United Food and Commercial Workers, is trying
to organize 5,000 workers at 27 Target stores in the New York
City area. A majority of workers at the Target store in
Valley Stream, N.Y., have already signed cards supporting
unionization, and a government-supervised election there on
June 17 will be the first time in more than two decades that
Target workers will vote on whether to join a union.

"A lot of people are going to be shocked that Target workers
would consider unionizing because of its very good image and
because it's known as such a fantastic philanthropic
organization," said Burt Flickinger, a retailing consultant
who has worked on projects for both the union and Target

The union decided to focus on Target after employees in
Valley Stream, on Long Island, asked for help in unionizing.
Echoing longstanding complaints by some Wal-Mart workers, the
store's employees complained that many of them earned too
little to support a family or afford health insurance,
forcing some to rely on food stamps and Medicaid for their

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