Target announces profits are up, fires union organizer

SuperTarget, super profits, not-super employee relations.

SuperTarget, super profits, not-super employee relations.

Good news for Target shareholders: Profits are up, and so's the stock price!

Bad news for Target employees: The woman who tried to organize a union for Target workers in New York has been fired.

Tashawna Green, the 21-year-old single mother who said Target didn't give her and other employees enough hours to support a family, was fired for what Target says are reasons unrelated to her union organizing. Green is appealing her termination through the National Labor Relations Board, asking that she be reinstated.

Enough about that, back to the good news. In a press release this morning, Target announced $704 million in second-quarter profits, up from $679 million in 2010. That release, timed to come out the moment the stock market opened, seems to have worked: Target Corp. stock is up more than 1 percent already today.


Clearly, these two things -- the effort to stop unionizing and the increase in profits -- are totally, totally unrelated.

Gregg Steinhafel, corporate wordsmith.

Gregg Steinhafel, corporate wordsmith.

Target released a statement that Green's terimination has nothing to do with her leadership in the failed union movement, according to the Star Tribune.

"This team member," the statement said, "recently acted in an overly hostile, disruptive manner that is inconsistent with Target's policies and therefore her employment was terminated."

Unsurprisingly, pro-union advocates told the Star Tribune a different story, saying Green had been picked on by management since she became a vocal leader:

"They've been calling [Green] into the office for many weeks," said United Food & Commercial Workers Union director Aly Waddy said. "The level of harassment was unbelievable.

Green had worked at a Target store in Valley Stream, New York, a suburb of New York City. In June, an employee vote to unionize at that store failed, 137-85, with pro-union employees claiming Target had swung the vote through intimidation of workers. Employees are also appealing to the NLRB, hoping to force another vote.

Back to the good stuff, here's the vague statement from CEO Gregg Steinhafel in this morning's profits announcement.

"We continue to focus on strong execution of our strategy, preparing Target to perform well in a variety of economic environments."

In the corporate world, that's what passes for poetry.