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United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 1500 in New York state has met with its Canadian equivalent to work out cross-border strategies against what the union describes as Minneapolis-based Target’s “growing anti-worker policies.” Additionally, Local 1500, aided by unions from as far away as Massachusetts, geared up for actions to be taken today at more than 20 Target stores.
“Our efforts to prevent the ‘Walmartization’ of Target Corp. will continue and escalate as long as Target … treats workers as if they were disposable items,” said Local 1500 president Bruce W. Both. “Whether it is shutting down the Valley Stream … Target [on New York’s Long Island] because the workers were brave enough to seek a union, or the upcoming closing of over 180 Zellers stores in Canada, a move that will displace thousands of workers, Target continues to prove that they have stolen Walmart’s anti-worker playbook and are duplicating their failed policies.”
Last week, Westbury, N.Y.-based Local 1500, which represents 23,000 grocery workers employed by Stop & Shop, ShopRite,Pathmark, King Kullen and Fairway on Long Island, in the five boroughs of New York City, and Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties, filed charges with federal government, charging Target with closing the Valley Stream store during renovations in response to a worker campaign to unionize with Local 1500.
"Our emphasis is on creating a workplace environment where our team members don't want or need representation," a Target spokeswoman told PG. "Target works to create an enviroment of mutual trust between Target and our team members, an environment that promotes listening, responding to concerns of team members and always giving honest feedback. Target believes in solving issues and concerns by working together with the help and input of all team members."
Contrary to the union's assertions about the closing of the Valley Stream store, the spokeswoman explained that the store's "extensive remodeling needs" required it to close temporarily for "significant construction," and that it would reopen later this year.
At Local 1500's meeting with Toronto-based UFCW Canada, both parties pledged to support each other with the necessary resources.
The union campaign kicked off with leaflets distributed at Target locations in the metropolitan New York area. Assisting Local 1500 in the campaign are UFCW staff from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.