Target bribed and intimidated to squash union, appeal claims

Target employees voted not to unionize.

Target employees voted not to unionize.

At least now the Target employees in Valley Stream, N.Y., know how to get raises, free coffee and donuts, and a renovated lunch room: Just offer to snitch on the union trying to organize fellow employees.

That's the gist of a petition just filed with the National Labor Relations Board by the United Food and Commercial Workers, which lost a unionization effort at the giant retailer's Valley Stream location.

The drive was a big deal because, had it succeeded, it would have created the first union shop for the Minneapolis-based retailer.

The union accuses the company of bribing its workers with the benefits, threatening them with reprisals if they supported the union, trying to stop workers from speaking to each other about the union, creating a threatening voting environment and warning darkly that the store would close if the union drive succeeded.

Who, us? Target replied.

"We believe this was a fair election in which our team members had the chance to make private decisions," a spokeswoman said. "It was our hope that our team members' decisions would have been honored and that the union would have respected team members' personal choice not to unionize."

Crain's New York Business reports that the NLRB in New York has started investigating the union's charges, but adds that even if a new union election were held, the chances of a change in result are slim to none.