Target and Unions

Predicting the demise of Sears & Kmart since 2017!
Alpha8472
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Target and Unions

Post by Alpha8472 »

Workers at a Target store in Christiansburg, Virginia are in the process of filing for a union election.

Close to 60 Starbucks have voted to unionize since December. Dozens more are filing elections.

The union movement is growing.
Last edited by Alpha8472 on May 12th, 2022, 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Target and Unions

Post by storewanderer »

Alpha8472 wrote: May 12th, 2022, 10:03 pm Workers at a Target store in Christiansburg, Virginia is in the process of filing for a union election.

Close to 60 Starbucks have voted to unionize since December. Dozens more are filing elections.

The union movement is growing.
Folks will be disappointed when they learn they need to stay at the same place forever to have any real use of what the unions may or may not even end up offering.

I'd like to see a program that detaches things like benefits from a specific job. Sort of like a union but it only handles benefits and you can take it with you from job to job. Wages and such would remain between the employer and employee.
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Re: Target and Unions

Post by ClownLoach »

In other news, I don't have a crystal ball, but this particular Target store is either:

A) Going to discover serious plumbing problems requiring at least 6 months or longer closure to fix
B) Is going to be closed for over a year to be torn down and rebuilt as per "long standing plans" (after someone quickly backdates a set of reconstruction blueprints)
C) Not longer meeting financial expectations and is permanently closing "as has been planned for quite some time" (after someone quickly changes the dates on some spreadsheets after raising the store budget retroactively by 50% or so)

In all seriousness though, Target has made more cuts to the overall supervision and leadership teams in their stores than Walmart in the last few years. The gross majority (95%) of logistics teams were moved from overnight to 4am. Target has always paid a $4/hour shift differential for overnight or shifts at 3am or earlier. In most stores the entire freight team left after moving from 10pm-6am overnight shifts to 4am-11am shifts. Some of these Team Members had decades with the company and even opened their stores but they had second jobs that prevented them from moving to this new schedule. Make no mistake - the constant advertising of higher wages at Target is really misleading because these expert overnight teams were all making over $20/hour or more because of the shift differential. With the hardest working people all removed from the shift differential Target is still paying less per hour now across the board than they were when they first started talking about moving to $15 chain wide. And the stories about them paying as much as $24 in competitive areas is misleading - $24/hour is for the Executive Team Leaders who used to be salaried in the $80K range but now are paid much less and have to do more physical work so they no longer can be classified as salary. It is a pay cut for those positions. Target has brilliant PR because they can cut wages and get credit for raising them in the news - but now that they're seeing union drives the truth will be revealed rapidly.

The other changes were massive reductions of Team Leads (supervisors), Senior Team Leads (key holding supervisors) and Executive Team Leads (Assistant Managers). The average store had about a dozen Team Leads, 3 or 4 Senior Team Leads, and about 9 Executive Team Leads. The ETL teams looked like this - 2 Front End, 3-4 Sales Floor (Softlines, Hardlines, Grocery and in higher volume stores +1 Electronics & Specialty), 1 HR, 1 LP, and 2 overnight. Now the stores have 1 Senior ETL who basically is 2nd in command of the store and works the opposite of the Store Manager, 1 sales floor, 1 omnichannel (e-commerce orders), and 1 logistics. The Senior Team Leads were all eliminated. And the regular Team Leads now have keys but didn't get pay increases and there are maybe 5 in the store. But HR is really the doozy here - before each store had its own HR ETL - each district picked the best one and now they oversee all stores in that district while all the others were let go. Removing HR from the store of this size is a really bad idea. This example discussed of management structure is for the average store with 250-300 employees. So now they're leaving 10 people to supervise and manage 250-300 which means there is basically a 0% chance of moving up with the company, supervision and training is going to be very limited, all the supervisors are unhappy to be doing much more work for same or less pay, and it is a guaranteed recipe for union organizers to get a foothold in the stores.
Last edited by ClownLoach on May 13th, 2022, 9:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Target and Unions

Post by veteran+ »

storewanderer wrote: May 12th, 2022, 10:05 pm
Alpha8472 wrote: May 12th, 2022, 10:03 pm Workers at a Target store in Christiansburg, Virginia is in the process of filing for a union election.

Close to 60 Starbucks have voted to unionize since December. Dozens more are filing elections.

The union movement is growing.
Folks will be disappointed when they learn they need to stay at the same place forever to have any real use of what the unions may or may not even end up offering.

I'd like to see a program that detaches things like benefits from a specific job. Sort of like a union but it only handles benefits and you can take it with you from job to job. Wages and such would remain between the employer and employee.
By same place you mean same Union?

BTW, in the past one could transfer most of their benefits to another Union jurisdiction. I don't know if that is allowed today.

And when you say disappointed, what else could one expect?

Employees on their own have not done well for themselves for decades. HR/ER departments are NO friends to employees. Most State Labor Commissioners are a joke. The NLRB has been defanged for decades and often times seem to favor corporate interests rather than labor interests.

Solution?
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Re: Target and Unions

Post by buckguy »

The large regional discount chains often were unionized and full-line department stores were unionized in a few cities. There's nothing new here (is there ever with retail--even supposedly revolutionary online retail is really just a high tech version of the different catalog models of the past).

National chains of the past like Sears kept out unions but they did it with benefits not with Walmart's race to the bottom-type tactics. They also helped build their suppliers up rather than bullying them--another topic worth discussing. Anyway, if NLRB and the laws behind it were stronger perhaps managements' tactics would be different. COVID taught people they didn't have to stay in one place and that was happening well after extended unemployment, etc. had run out.
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Re: Target and Unions

Post by pseudo3d »

veteran+ wrote: May 13th, 2022, 9:30 am
By same place you mean same Union?

BTW, in the past one could transfer most of their benefits to another Union jurisdiction. I don't know if that is allowed today.

And when you say disappointed, what else could one expect?

Employees on their own have not done well for themselves for decades. HR/ER departments are NO friends to employees. Most State Labor Commissioners are a joke. The NLRB has been defanged for decades and often times seem to favor corporate interests rather than labor interests.

Solution?
I think he means same sort of job. If I'm not mistaken, most of the union jobs, even grocery jobs, were career jobs. You worked up to something like department manager and made good money. Tradesmen, police officers, teachers, factory workers...these were people that spent their life with an organization and needed the union to make sure they weren't going to get screwed.

In comparison, service jobs are losing employees because (in part) they suck and no one in their right mind would want to work there. This is why the Starbucks/Amazon union pushes are fundamentally flawed. They don't want to work there for 30+ years. They don't want to chip in to someone's retirement fund in hopes that they too will reach retirement eventually. They don't any vested interest in the company to ensure that it stays solvent.
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Re: Target and Unions

Post by storewanderer »

pseudo3d wrote: May 13th, 2022, 8:53 pm
veteran+ wrote: May 13th, 2022, 9:30 am
By same place you mean same Union?

BTW, in the past one could transfer most of their benefits to another Union jurisdiction. I don't know if that is allowed today.

And when you say disappointed, what else could one expect?

Employees on their own have not done well for themselves for decades. HR/ER departments are NO friends to employees. Most State Labor Commissioners are a joke. The NLRB has been defanged for decades and often times seem to favor corporate interests rather than labor interests.

Solution?
I think he means same sort of job. If I'm not mistaken, most of the union jobs, even grocery jobs, were career jobs. You worked up to something like department manager and made good money. Tradesmen, police officers, teachers, factory workers...these were people that spent their life with an organization and needed the union to make sure they weren't going to get screwed.

In comparison, service jobs are losing employees because (in part) they suck and no one in their right mind would want to work there. This is why the Starbucks/Amazon union pushes are fundamentally flawed. They don't want to work there for 30+ years. They don't want to chip in to someone's retirement fund in hopes that they too will reach retirement eventually. They don't any vested interest in the company to ensure that it stays solvent.
I mean any job. Let's say I go to work for Starbucks for 5 years. Then I am done with that and I decide okay now I want to go work in a hotel. Then after 5 years I am tired of the hotel and I say okay now I want to go work in the road construction industry turning around the "stop" and "slow" sign at the side of the road. I'd like to see a benefit program that would basically take payroll deductions to me at every one of those jobs that I could move around with, and have consistent benefits. Like I said- basically like a union, but not tying me to a specific employer or specific industry.

These unions will never deliver tangible employee benefits in places like Starbucks and Target unless they unionize literally every store. And even then they are likely to fail for the reasons pseudo describes- hardly anyone works there for 30 years (even the CEO of Starbucks keeps coming and going).

The unions are trying to apply a 1950's approach (go organize location by location) to the 2020's. This is not going to work. They need a different approach. But this approach is a joke. A Starbucks with 20 employees- a Target with 60 employees- why are they bothering? The old approach to run organization drives at large employers with hundreds of employees like plants like they used to go after made sense then. But does it make sense now? A lot of people just don't stay with the same job anymore. And why should people be tied to the same job their whole life? Many people have made the lifestyle choice to change employers and careers multiple times throughout their life and it has been this way for decades.

And this is why the union needs a different approach. It needs to sell itself to the employee completely independently of the employer. And you should be able to take the benefits with you as you shift employers/career paths, as long as you the employee can keep paying the dues (the employer would save on benefit costs and wage should rise to enable the employee to pay the costs).
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Re: Target and Unions

Post by HCal »

storewanderer wrote: May 14th, 2022, 12:33 am
I mean any job. Let's say I go to work for Starbucks for 5 years. Then I am done with that and I decide okay now I want to go work in a hotel. Then after 5 years I am tired of the hotel and I say okay now I want to go work in the road construction industry turning around the "stop" and "slow" sign at the side of the road. I'd like to see a benefit program that would basically take payroll deductions to me at every one of those jobs that I could move around with, and have consistent benefits. Like I said- basically like a union, but not tying me to a specific employer or specific industry.

Taken to its logical conclusion, the best way of implementing that would simply be to provide benefits like health care and retirement through the government rather than through employers. This would also promote competition in the labor market because switching jobs wouldn't mean having to find a new doctor or moving your retirement savings to a new fund. But this won't happen, because Americans don't trust the government, apparently they trust their employers more.
storewanderer wrote: May 14th, 2022, 12:33 am The unions are trying to apply a 1950's approach (go organize location by location) to the 2020's. This is not going to work. They need a different approach. But this approach is a joke. A Starbucks with 20 employees- a Target with 60 employees- why are they bothering? The old approach to run organization drives at large employers with hundreds of employees like plants like they used to go after made sense then. But does it make sense now? A lot of people just don't stay with the same job anymore. And why should people be tied to the same job their whole life? Many people have made the lifestyle choice to change employers and careers multiple times throughout their life and it has been this way for decades.

And this is why the union needs a different approach. It needs to sell itself to the employee completely independently of the employer. And you should be able to take the benefits with you as you shift employers/career paths, as long as you the employee can keep paying the dues (the employer would save on benefit costs and wage should rise to enable the employee to pay the costs).
I think their goal is to just build up momentum. Once a few locations unionize, it is easier to get others to do so. Getting that toehold is the hardest part.

Also, a few unionized locations can set a baseline for all the workers. This is how Costco works. The unionized locations negotiate a contract, and then the company gives all workers the same deal. This prevents further unionization attempts.
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Re: Target and Unions

Post by pseudo3d »

HCal wrote: May 14th, 2022, 1:19 am
storewanderer wrote: May 14th, 2022, 12:33 am
I mean any job. Let's say I go to work for Starbucks for 5 years. Then I am done with that and I decide okay now I want to go work in a hotel. Then after 5 years I am tired of the hotel and I say okay now I want to go work in the road construction industry turning around the "stop" and "slow" sign at the side of the road. I'd like to see a benefit program that would basically take payroll deductions to me at every one of those jobs that I could move around with, and have consistent benefits. Like I said- basically like a union, but not tying me to a specific employer or specific industry.

Taken to its logical conclusion, the best way of implementing that would simply be to provide benefits like health care and retirement through the government rather than through employers. This would also promote competition in the labor market because switching jobs wouldn't mean having to find a new doctor or moving your retirement savings to a new fund. But this won't happen, because Americans don't trust the government, apparently they trust their employers more.
Broadly speaking, people want to go where the money is. Corporations and their CEOs have money to spend, money that can be used to pay and support the workforce. The government has been running at a deficit for years, younger people have no confidence in their social security tax ever being returned to them, the winds change too often for people to be consistently happy with them, and a good portion of the people sees them as riddled with fraud and funding things they have no business doing anything with.

Even a separate "workers union" fund is going to be useless if the government sees it as a piggybank that can be cracked open when it needs cash.
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Re: Target and Unions

Post by storewanderer »

HCal wrote: May 14th, 2022, 1:19 am


Taken to its logical conclusion, the best way of implementing that would simply be to provide benefits like health care and retirement through the government rather than through employers. This would also promote competition in the labor market because switching jobs wouldn't mean having to find a new doctor or moving your retirement savings to a new fund. But this won't happen, because Americans don't trust the government, apparently they trust their employers more.

I think their goal is to just build up momentum. Once a few locations unionize, it is easier to get others to do so. Getting that toehold is the hardest part.

Also, a few unionized locations can set a baseline for all the workers. This is how Costco works. The unionized locations negotiate a contract, and then the company gives all workers the same deal. This prevents further unionization attempts.
I feel like trying to provide these sorts of benefits through the government is a ship that has long sailed. But back in the 90's when so many jobs lost benefits then again in the 00's when even more jobs lost benefits and more and more jobs went part time/no benefits would have been the perfect time to come up with a working program. Now we have a program but it doesn't really seem to be working. Part time/gig workers are not covered under benefit programs, rarely have any retirement savings, and rely heavily on government assistance programs a model many have been yelling is not sustainable for decades now. But everything is okay until it isn't...

I think the unions could make a lot of money switching themselves to a benefit provider model selling benefit services to various outside individuals. They have long established plans for pensions, other post-retirement benefits, etc. You as an employee would pay in, just like unionized employees (or their employer) pay in to the plans. Write a check to the union every month or whatever and you are in their benefit program. Given these are old long-established programs (and aren't their benefit funds somehow government backed) it seems like people would be more likely to trust these than a fly by night employer or the perceived flaky government (though if people connected the dots seeing if the union went bust the government would be the one to come in and print money to backfill/provide the benefits...).

I don't see momentum because half of the employees who drive the union drive at the Starbucks are likely to quit working there within a few months anyway and it is tough to keep momentum going without long-term cheerleaders.
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