Retailers

Target Workers in Christiansburg, Va., Seek Union Vote

Lead organizer with Virginia-based Target Workers Unite filed petition with NLRB
Target exterior
Photograph: Shutterstock

The unionization movement riling the likes of Starbucks and Amazon has come, formally, to a Target in Virginia, with workers at a Christiansburg Target store filing a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union election.

In paperwork filed with the NLRB on May 9, Adam Ryan, an organizer with the Blackburn, Va.-based group Target Workers Unite, alleges coercive rules from the Minneapolis-based retailer; Ryan told the Associated Press that workers at the Christiansburg store are stretched too thin with a multitude of tasks beyond the scope of their roles.

"The cost of living is going up and [Target's] pay isn’t meeting that," Ryan told the Associated Press. "That is causing a lot of anxiety and stress. ... [Employees] need more support and compensation."

In a statement provided May 10 to AP, Target said it is committed to listening to workers and cultivating an environment of mutual trust. The company said starting wages and wages for longer-tenured workers at the Christiansburg store were raised last fall.

Target, with more than 1,900 stores across the U.S. and a workforce of around 400,000, raised its minimum pay to $15 an hour in July 2020 in an effort to bolster its positioning against other retailers and large hourly employers, including Amazon, which went to $15/hour in October 2018.

In February, Target said its starting pay would range up to $24 an hour, depending on the role and market. "Our team is at the heart of our strategy and success, and their energy and resilience keep us at the forefront of meeting the changing needs of our guests year after year," Target Chief Human Resources Officer Melissa Kremer said in announcing the move.

Target is scheduled to announce first-quarter 2022 earnings on May 18. 

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