Long Island Target Store May Be The First To Unionize

VALLEY STREAM, NY (CBSNewYork/AP) — A big union vote is expected Friday night at a Long Island Target store.

It could be a historic vote at the Valley Stream Target if the 260 workers approve a vote to unionize the store.

This is the first union vote Target has faced in two decades and if workers vote “yes,” the store will be the first of the company’s 1,700 locations to bring in organized labor. The vote could have a ripple effect in the U.S. retail industry

So why are workers unhappy?

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports: Target Employees Divided On Union Decision

Employee Charmaine Brown says she wants to unionize because she’s making less than $10 an hour and working only 15 hours per week.

“I am bringing home $150 every two weeks,” said Brown who is also on food stamps. “How am I supposed to pay my rent?”

Since about two dozen workers from the Valley Stream store approached the union with their grievances, Target employees from around the country have been reaching out to the labor organization, according to Patrick Purcell, spokesman for the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1500.

“We’re looking at the beginning of a national movement in Target stores,” he says. “This is just the first step.”

But employee Betsy Wilson said she loves Target and says she even received a raise a few months ago and doesn’t think a union is necessary.

“What I am afraid of is them coming in here speaking for us,” said Wilson. “I don’t need anybody to speak for me.”

Target has been taking steps of its own. The Minneapolis-based retailer has representatives going door to door in Valley Stream, distributing flyers to educate workers on the downside of unionization and is calling meetings with workers to answer questions. In a handout addressing whether the company would shut down the Valley Stream store if workers unionize, Target said: “There are no guarantees.”

Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said Target seeks to create a workplace in which employees don’t need union representation. “Target believes in solving issues and concerns by working together,” she says.

The vote is expected to be very close. Voting ends at about 11:30pm with results expected to be announced by 1am Saturday.

What do you think? Sound off below in our comments section…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Sophia Hall
  • lydia

    Unoins can’t make a business give more hours to a employee. Prices will go up, why do you think so many factories have left here and went to China.
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  • Patriot

    Reading these messages- either pro union or anti union, I wonder is this real America? Where is the civility. Where is the real discussion. Why bash the wokers or the management. There are some (ok, a few) good employers as well as some bad unions. This kind of bashing doesn’t work or solve the issues.

    There is a genuine issue with worker pays vs the CEO pays. There are issues with huge income divide. Middle class paying more and more and rich paying less and less. There are issues with 99% of ‘made in china’ items at Walmart or Target. America needs jobs. Unions or other issues are secondary. With this kind of extreme partisan bickering the real issue is getting lost. Yes, I have to say that right wingers are becoming extreme right wingers and glossing over the real issue while trying to bash other ideas. Are these people really middle class? Or beating the drum for some one else?

    • TheRichRule

      I think that you’re on right on TARGET. Corporate America should exist for the owners (the stockholders). But the CEO and their cronies have been looting the company treasury for years. At Walmart, the CEO takes down about $20 million per year, while the average worker (at Walmart) is literally starving. And I bet that he believes that he’s underpaid.

      The middle class is down and out. And the rich want them to stay there. The bottom line for America: This disparity in pay is bad for the USA.

  • GS

    Surprising that this is taking place with Target. What with its diverse open minded culture and usually being listed as one of the best places to work.

    If anything I’d think that workers should be trying to organize at that hell hole of a retailer called Walmart.

    Big enterprise will have a person working for wages that don’t keep pace with the times. Unions have their downsides but are also necessary in certain situations.

  • John

    After the advent of OSHA, and the EEOC, and the like, unions became obsolete, purely money making initiatives for a few and a divisive entity. No need for unions!

    • SJo30

      Couldn’t agree more. I have not heard one complaint from these employees that rises to the level of abuse. If you don’t like where you work or what you get paid, find a different job. Period.

    • LaborRules

      Before unions, workers literally worked from daylight to sundown, six or seven day a week. There were no benefits whatsoever. Yes, that can happen again. In fact, it is. Companies violate all kinds of labor laws, and whose going to sue them–nobody. Fact, baby.

  • Critical Thinker

    Union Hater: The only thing permeating this thread is the stench of haters like you.

  • R. Reagan

    If they vote to unionize, fire everyone and close the store.

    • Critical Thinker

      Typical right-wing mentality. Protect the giant corporations and to hell with the middle class!

      • Boss

        If no giant corps, no need for unions and their overpaid wages.

  • moose1220

    BIG MISTAKE…..Unionize…prices increase,,,,inflation…lower income shoppers pay more for purchases…workers pay dues from salary….who polices the union dues collected??….WALMART wi ns!!!!

    • Critical Thinker

      moose: Your ability to take this issue to a set of completely illogical conclusions is astounding.

  • shila blank

    I have worked for both and a unionized company is the worst, between dues and the union telling us when to strike and what we need, the work place was unpleasant and less productive. This meant less money in the long run for us. Unions are really only interested in the big wigs of the union. They need to get off their butts and leave us alone.

  • Careful what you wish for!

    If the person working 15 hours per week thinks that unionizing the store will help her situation, she is sadly mistaken. The union dues would take up a good portion of her take home pay, or she would be out of a job entirely as other workers with more seniority were bumped up to full time.

    Why would anyone want their compensation tied to a scale so that they receive the same pay as someone who works half as hard?

    • Critical Thinker

      The union dues would certainly not take up a good portion of her take-home pay, the union would protect her job, and the union would bargain on her behalf for a bigger paycheck. That’s what unions are for!

  • Shane Devino

    another union pathetic joke! go ahead and unionize… the next would be a corporate showdown by laying off workers, increasing prices, and i hope food stamps will investigate how “you” purchased all of those luxury items at your home… that’s right… who BOUGHT THAT CAR FOR YOU, FOOD STAMP TARGET PEOPLE? HOW COULD YOU HAVE AFFORDED TO PURCHASE THAT IPHONE? IPAD? LCD TV? LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE! OH YEA.. LEARN TO DO YOUR MATH! $10/HR AND 15 HOURS PER WEEK EQUALS $300 EVERY TWO WEEKS… NOT $150!!! WOW! The author is SO SMART!!! What an idiot! No wonder why the author is biased. CBS should be VERY ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES

    • Critical Thinker

      Shane: Charmaine is talking about her take-home income, not her gross income, you moron.

      • SJo30

        She is taxed at 50%? Wow.
        In the Reuters article about this same topic, Charmaine is quoted as saying she makes $8.00 an hour. Hmm.
        On the topic of Charmaine, how will she work more hours with three kids to take care of? Even if they are in school, they’re probably out for summer now. I don’t imagine she’ll have any paycheck left after paying for daycare.
        It doesn’t take a lot of critical thinking to figure this one out.

  • danny

    I just came back from 2013 in my Delorean. The Valley Stream Target was the first to go out of business.

  • The Rent is too damn high

    How about getting off your Fat ASS and working more than 15 hours a week. That’s one way to make more money! Duh Winning!

    • Critical Thinker

      Target is only giving her 15 hour of work per week work, moron. Duh! Loser!

      • SJo30

        Yup – now she will probably lose her job so that someone with more seniority can get 30 hours per week.
        Retail stores determine how many hours they need employees to work based on the amount of business the store brings in. A union isn’t going to change that. (If anything, the tension at the store is hurting business.)
        Target has been successful because they manage their business well. They have grown because they keep operational costs lower than profits. Why punish good business sense with a union? This is a losing situation for everyone involved – especially the employees.

    • Shane Devino

      DAMN IT! $10/hr for 15 hrs/wk = $150 every two weeks!!! LMAO!

  • Management

    The workers will have to pay union fees on every paycheck and get less take home pay. Think about it.

    • Critical Thinker

      The ability to bargain for a fair wage will far outweigh any union fees.

    • Shane Devino

      Well… with those idiots’ math skills, they should pay 150% of their paychecks to the unions

  • Jesse Cervantes


    • Critical Thinker

      Union Hater: You have a lot to learn, including how to spell “your” correctly.

      • Boss

        Critical, down to spelling errors to coment on? Unoins can’t make a business give more hours to a employee. Prices will go up, why do you think so many factories have left here and went to China. Keep the cost of goods down by not having to pay union workers their whole life. And the average union worker pays $1,000 uniion fees.

    • Critical Thinker


      • Boss

        Death to unions!!

      • Union Hater

        You’re pathetic attitude permeates the thread….stinks in here.
        Union sheep.

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