As workers around the world unite today in May Day Celebrations demanding better working conditions, economic justice and the right to join and form a Union, the United States National Labor Relations Board reminded one world's largest retailers they are not above the law. The NLRB today, by affirming an administrative law judge's decision of May 2012, ordered a new Union election be held at the Valley Stream, New York Target Corporation store and that Target Corporation cease and desist all illegal activities that voided the first Union election.
The workers at the Valley Stream Target were seeking Union representation from United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 based out of Westbury, New York when Target engaged in violations of Federal labor law.
Also, in a broad sweeping decision that will affect all current Target employees nationwide, the NLRB ordered Target to modify all existing and future employee handbooks throughout the Country and remove all wording that the NLRB found violated federal labor law.
This ruling will apply to over 1,700 Target stores and 250,000 employees in the United States. A decision of this scope breadth is unprecedented as it relates to retail workers and stores.
"This is an overwhelming victory for Target workers not just in the Valley Stream Target but throughout the United States," stated Bruce W. Both, President of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500. "It is especially satisfying that the decision be announced as workers around the world today are celebrating May Day and sending the message that working men and women will fight every day, for as long as it takes until irresponsible corporations like Target respect our nation's laws, the laws of other Nations and the rights of their workers to form and join a Union," Both continued. "I am calling on Target shareholders to demand that their company cease any further frivolous and costly legal appeals, honor the NLRBs orders and respect their employee's civil rights. It is time for Target to Target Change in their own company," Both concluded.
Today's NLRB ruling upheld a May 18th, 2012 administrative law judge's decision that Target maintained illegal no –solicitation policies, threatened employees with closure of the Valley Stream store should they vote for the Union, created an impression of illegal surveillance, conducted coercive employee interrogations, threatened employees with discipline for supporting the Union as well as several other violations of Federal labor law.
"Target acted as if the laws of this Country did not apply to them and as if their employees had no civil rights whatsoever, " stated Aly Waddy, Director of Special Projects for UFCW Local 1500. "It was shocking to all of us involved that this once proud company would get in the gutter with the Wal-Mart's of the world and prove to be no better when it comes to responsible treatment of their employees and their respect for federal law. Hopefully today's loud and clear decision from the Federal government will affect the needed change at Target and reverse their irresponsible business practices," Waddy concluded.
UFCW Local 1500 pledged to continue the campaign "Target Change" and bring its case to elected officials, community leaders and workers at Target stores all over New York State.
"Today is an historical day in the campaign to effect real change at Target and proves that Targets current business model is one based on the suppression of worker's rights, deceiving the public about their treatment of their employees and a continued trend towards becoming Wal-Mart Junior, " stated Patrick Purcell, Assistant to the President of UFCW Local 1500. "UFCW Local 1500 and its Target Change Campaign intends to shine the brightest light on what is increasingly becoming a company with dark business practices," Purcell concluded.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 is New York states largest union representing over 23 000 employees in Suffolk, Nassau, Westchster, Putnam and Dutchess County as well all five boroughs of New York City.
UFCW members from local unions all across New York descended upon the Capitol in Albany today to lobby their elected officials about important bills pending in the Assembly and the Senate.
UFCW members lobbied in support of the New York DREAM Act, the Fair Elections Act, the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act, medical marijuana, and conveyed their strong opposition to the Walmart tax credit that was structured into the recently passed minimum wage deal.
For Isha Matko, a UFCW Local 1500 member who works at Gristedes in New York City, this was her first lobbying experience.
“We’re here to help bring a voice to more workers. This helps to ensure that Assemblymembers and Senators are seeing and hearing from real people. It’s a powerful experience being able to talk with people who have the ability to make a difference in all our lives.”
The real impact in lobbying comes from elected officials being able to attach a personal face to the bills that they vote on. Having a lobby day sends a strong reminder that they work for real people–not just the wealthy or big corporations. Juan Guardado, a UFCW Local 1500 member who works at Stop & Shop in West Islip, had a very personal reason for lobbying.
“I’m happy to be here because I really support the DREAM Act. I have a family member who is undocumented and despite getting straight A’s wasn’t eligible for any financial aid. He had to stop going to school because he couldn’t afford it. It’s important for working people to talk to their elected officials because they need to see firsthand that we care, we’re informed and we’re struggling.”
As the lobby day came to a close, UFCW Local One union representative Mark Manna of Buffalo hit on the true importance of the day.
“We’re working people. We don’t have $1,000 suits or a big checkbook, but we have a right to let our elected officials know what we’re concerned about. At the end of the day we keep score with votes, not with how much money is raised.”
Too often, when the word “lobby” is tossed around people immediately think “wealthy” and “special interest.” Yesterday in New York, UFCW members made sure their elected officials associated “lobby” with “workers.”
Our thoughts, prayers and love go to all affected in the ongoing Boston Marathon tragedy. Our uttermost thanks go to Boston's first responders for their bravery.
— TOP 10 INDUSTRY/LABOR NEWS ARTICLES FROM THIS WEEK —
1. Bangladesh Factory Fire Workers are battling Walmart for compensation. They're not going to get it though, Walmart refused. The factory fire killed over 112 workers at a garment factory tailoring clothing for Walmart.
2. Local unions throughout Boston are offered a $50k award for any tips that lead to arrest of the marathon bomber.
4. Walmart has made over $400,000 in political contributions to New York since 2010, a move that bought them a sweet heart provision in the new Minimum Wage reform. The subsidy was never announced publicly and is expected to provide big retailers like Walmart millions of dollars each year. It would also give Walmart a tax-credit to replace their seasoned workforce with inexperienced teenagers at minimum wage.
9. Cutting the Budget, Leaving Us Dry: Michelle Chen sums up wonderfully how the working poor aren't feeling positive effects from the economic "bounceback" and how Social Security cuts won't help.
10.No NLRB, No Voice! Last week Congress essentially told working Americans to drop dead. House Republicans pushed through a dangerous bill that would paralyze the National Labor Relations Board, blocking the only path that workers have to workplace justice.