Like Walmart, many of Target’s employees are forced to resort to safety nets like SNAP, housing assistance, Medicaid, and EITC. In other words, Target is just another corporate Welfare Queen.
Needless to say, Target is absolutely petrified of unions.
When a New York Target attempted to unionize in 2011, management responded with some pretty frightening anti-union propaganda. Filled with frightening statements like “The rules are designed to let union bosses control the members and their money,” and “If you break any rule you could be put on TRIAL before the union bosses,” and “There are no guarantees [that the store won't close if workers unionize]” followed by statistics on companies that have closed the doors rather than allow workers to fight for fair treatment.
A number of workers have spoken out, offering stories of employees being locked inside the store while clocked out and having to wait until management released them, and other repugnant treatment.
Now, Target has updated its anti-union training video–and it’s one of the worst things you will ever see.
Meet Ricardo and Dawn, the hip young Target anti-union propagandists! It’s their job to walk new employees through the dark and scary world that is the encroaching threat of unions to take away their freedoms and kill puppies (or is it take away their puppies and kill freedoms?).
Dawn highlights the fun “open-door” policy and explains that if a union comes in, that all will probably end. The dictatorial union bosses will force employees to sacrifice their ability to even maintain day-to-day communications with management without union involvement.
“But if the unions did try to organize our team members, chances are they would change our fast, fun and friendly culture,” Dawn adds later. That’s right–if you bring in a union, happy fun time is over!
In fact, union rules might keep you from helping customers! If the rules say that you can’t work outside your department and a customer stops you in the store, your only option is to rudely tell a customer that you can’t help them and walk away. There is no other alternative, like helpfully taking that customer to someone who can, or anything. Union involvement kills your ability to be a good employee! “You actually have to tell that guest ‘Sorry, I can’t help you’,” Ricardo explains, “Imagine how she’d feel when you refused to help her and how you would feel because of her reaction. And the company would suffer–because if this guest can’t get immediate attention, she might decide not to come back. So everyone gets hurt. Everyone except the union.”
The video warns that jealous unions “want what we have.” Why? What is so wonderful about Target that unions fear it so? “We’re a target, because unions are threatened by us. And here’s why: when we take business away from retailers that are unionized, those companies may downsize, reducing the number of employees. And that means the union loses members, which is a big problem for the union business. Did you notice how I just called it a business? Because that’s what it is.”
That’s right, Target employees! Those big scary businesses known as unions are just trying to keep the multibillion corporation (read: “little guy”) down!
Besides, if you don’t like how you’re treated at Target and the union goes on strike it might affect business! “You could come into work one day to find union protesters telling our guests not to shop at Target,” Dawn says. “And how could that possibly be good for anyone on our team?”
Ricardo adds that unions “can and do try to threaten our stores, trying to scare our guests into shopping somewhere else.” Those terrorists! “How could that possibly be good for anyone on our team? We depend on guests for our jobs.” Dawn asks.
After almost ten minutes of scary misrepresentations of unions and veiled threats, the “warnings” begin. Unions are going to try to trick or threaten you into signing up.
If you join a union, you lose the legal right to speak to management about anything. The union will do that for you, and it doesn’t represent your views. Unions are, after all, just gigantic corporations who want to exploit you–completely unlike Target.
“All those open doors may have to close” if a union comes to town, warns Dawn.
If one of those scary union people approaches you, Dawn encourages you to talk to management. They’ll set you straight.
Get ready for the most awful fifteen minutes of your life!