Leaders at Target Corp. must’ve gotten bad vibes from Striketober.
On Thursday, images leaked of apparent union-busting messaging from within the Minneapolis-based retail giant. Labor watchdog group A More Perfect Union posted screen-grabs of alleged anti-union training materials directed to team leaders at Target.
“A union can impact a business in several ways,” reads one screen-grab. “Most importantly it takes away leaders’ ability to work directly with team members to solve issues.”
“As a leader… while you cannot prevent a union from organizing,” reads another, offering a nice tip-o’-the-cap to basic labor law, “creating an environment where team members don’t feel the need for a union is a critical part of your role.”
We’re told “a sympathetic member of management” in Virginia provided the images to Target Workers Unite, an independent group of rank-and-file Target employees with union aspirations. The anti-union training push, TWU alleges, stemmed from this Black history event flier being torn town in the breakroom of the Christiansburg, Virginia, location.
We reached out to Target PR for comment, but didn’t hear back.
COVID-19 has been great for business at Target: The company’s stock has doubled since early 2020. Higher-than-expected earnings from Q2 2021 spurred a $15 billion stock buyback, further enriching shareholders. According to TWU, Target workers organized for pandemic hazard pay late last year, only to be met with unsatisfactory $2 holiday pay bumps. Target is poised to become the third Minnesota company in the $100 billion annual sales club, the Star Tribune reports, joining UnitedHealth and Cargill. To our non-MBA brains, all that suggests Target could probably afford a unionized workforce, though, as we’ve seen recently at Amazon, the mere prospect of unions still stokes fear in the hearts of multinational mega-corporations.
Target, of course, has a rich history of cartoonishly paranoid anti-union propaganda. Just observe the classic video below. Recognize fear-mongering talking head Jim Rowader? He’s since moved onto the role of city attorney of Minneapolis.
“The famous video is no longer shown,” an organizer with TWU tells us. “But many workers still believe unions are illegal, and generally don’t know their rights as defined by the National Labor Relations Act. Workers are disgruntled, but they generally don’t know what to do other than quit and get a job somewhere else.”