Financial 411: Labor Unions Eye a New Target

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Labor unions have gone after Wal-mart for years — attacking the world's largest retailer for providing poor wages and benefits and driving small businesses out of business. Now, organized labor has its eye on another big-box retailer: Target. Workers at a Target store in Valley Stream, Long Island, will vote next month on whether to join United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500.

Daniel Massey, a reporter at Crain's New York Business, has been covering the story. He said one of the reasons that the union is focusing on Target is because of its recent push into the fresh food market. On the other hand, he said, its also a worker-driven campaign: some employees at the store are complaining about low wages and only a few work hours a week.

Massey said Target's also running a campaign of its own: "It's waging a sort of textbook, aggressive, anti-union campaign." The company has also hired a law firm, Jackson Lewis. Massey explains what's at stake, and what unionization at big box stores could mean for the city's living wage bill.


Markets rose Wednesday. The Dow climbed 38 points, to close at 12,395. The S&P 500 gained four points, ending the day at 1,320. The Nasdaq rose 15 points, to close at 2,761.

UPDATE: Daniel Massey reports that Target said it hired the firm Jackson Lewis for a separate employment-related matter. The union contends it is related to their unionization campaign.