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Pro-Union Employee Trying to Organize Target Store Is Fired

About seven weeks after failing to persuade her colleagues to join a union, a Target worker is terminated from her $8-an-hour job. The union will seek to reverse her dismissal.

August 16, 2011
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She was the face of the failed campaign to make a Long Island, New York, store the first unionized Target in the country. Again and again she told media outlets she was struggling to raise her daughter on what she earned as a Target sales floor team member.

Now, Tashawna Green, 21, of New York City, no longer has her $8-per-hour job. A Target supervisor fired her earlier this month, seven weeks after workers voted not to join United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500.

The union immediately filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging Green was fired “because of her activities in support of the union.”

In a letter to the board, a union lawyer wrote that Green served as an observer for the election and gave statements to the board in support of charges the union filed against Target. The lawyer wrote that Green was fired after she was seen being dropped off at work by a union representative.

In a written statement, Target said Green was fired because she “recently acted in an overly hostile, disruptive manner that is inconsistent with Target’s policies.”

Green said she was told on Aug. 5 not to report to work the next day because supervisors were investigating allegations that she had spread rumors that all staff members of Jamaican descent would be fired. (Team members who hailed from Jamaica, including Green, had been the most vocal in support of unionizing.)

Early the next morning, she got a call from a supervisor with news of her termination.

“I believe I was fired because of my participation in the union campaign,” Green said. “Because I’m for the union, they wanted to get rid of me.”

Green, who had complained of being scheduled for 20 hours or fewer a week, said she was picked on because of her age and influence on other young workers at Target. She said the firing would set her back because “I do have a 6-year-old daughter to take care of.”

Alvin Blyer, regional director of the labor board, said his office received the charge and is investigating. He said the labor board planned to rule soon on dozens of other unfair labor practice allegations brought both by the union and by Target.

Local 1500 issued a formal challenge to the election, alleging workers were bribed and intimidated into voting against the union, and is seeking a rerun election. And late last month, Target filed charges of its own, contending union representatives threatened and physically assaulted employees as they continued to seek support after the election loss.

All Target stores are nonunion.  

Filed by Daniel Massey of Crain’s New York Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

 

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