Union Seeks Public Support to Prevent Valley Stream Target Store From Closing
Action Taken at 22 New York Target Stores
WESTBURY, NY (03/29/2012)(readMedia)-- Over 70 workers, community members and former Target employees traveled to 22 New York Target stores yesterday, March 28, 2012, seeking support from Target employees and customers to keep the Valley Stream, New York Target from closing. Target's Valley Stream store is scheduled to close on April 28 for six months, a time when a possible re-run election for unionization could be ordered by the Federal government. The United Food and Commercial workers have spoken out against the store closure alleging the closing is in retaliation for the workers exercising their civil rights to join a Union. The Union noted that no other Target store in New York had ever closed for renovations, and only one of over 850 stores nationally has closed for a remodel.
"What we're seeing now is the Walmartization of Target stores," said assistant to the President of UFCW Local 1500 Pat Purcell, "That's why we're trying to inform the public that this company, behind it's glitzy ads and high profile fashion celebs, is no better than Walmart. Closing a store in retaliation for workers asking to better their work place is shameful and illegal."
Workers at the Valley Stream Target organized last June to demand more respect and better pay from their employer, only to lose in a contested Federal election. During the election, Target's vicious campaign to scare workers away from joining UFCW Local 1500 become the subject of much media attention. During the election, anti-union videos Target had shows to new employees were shown again to Valley Stream employees and Target distributed literature that suggested the store would close if "the union got in". After the failed union election the National Labor Relations Board charged Target with numerous violations of Federal labor law.
In a last minute effort to fend off attempts by the Valley Stream Target workers seeking to hold another Union election, Target announced in early March the closing of its Valley Stream store for six months, offering limited transfers and job placements in a manner that the Union and workers consider discriminatory.
Joe Hansen, International President of the 1.4 million-member UFCW Union, released the following statement on Target's actions:
"Target has sunk to a new low. The company announced plans to close the Valley Stream store for six months - a move that seems designed to put an end to the workers' campaign to join together to improve their jobs.
Target is targeting these workers, singling them out, and trying to prevent the possibility of a second, fairer election. It's a shameful strategy, and one that takes aim at a core American value: the right to stick together on the job. We can't stand for such a bald-faced attack on the basic rights of working people.
UFCW Local 1500 has rightfully spoken out against the closure of the Valley Stream store and I hope federal regulators will heed their call to intervene. If they don't, it will be not only a grave injustice, but it will further embolden companies like Target and Walmart, who seek to squash worker rights in the pursuit of unfettered control of our economy.
Workers have the right to stick together and form a union. It's wrong for Target or any other retailer to punish workers for exercising their rights. Retail workers across the country will be influenced by this decision, as they act together to improve their own jobs."
UFCW Local 1500 represents 23,000 grocery workers in New York State. Members are employed by Stop Shop, Shop Rite, Pathmark, King Kullen and Fairway. Their members live and work in Long Island, the five boroughs, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties.