A Target store in Valley Stream, New York is once again in a battle over an attempt to unionize its workers. (The company was convicted of using illegal union-busting tactics when the union tried this last year.) Today is Target's shareholder meeting, in Chicago. What better time to hear from some beleaguered Target employees?

Common Cause sent a group of shareholders to the meeting to protest Target's labor and political policies; we're told that Target locked them out. No matter. You may recall that Target actually closed the Valley Stream store that is the site of the union battle—allegedly for renovations, which they say will take seven months. Some knowledgeable types scoffed at this, in emails to us. From a former Target middle manager:

During my tenure there, I helped facilitate many a remodel and let me tell you, they have streamlined the process to point where employees could execute them blindfolded. Never, I mean NEVER was a store "shut down" for this. Everyone just worked through the construction mess and counted the days to the grand re-opening. Target never wanted the "guest" (customer) to go some place else - even temporarily. In Southern California, Target remained open during huge fires in the area that required evacuation, loss of power, and a blood soaked front sidewalk (a construction person fell of the roof - splat in front of the front door).

I can't speak to the union stuff very much, but I can say I call shenanigans on them closing down a store for a re-model.

And from a former employee:

I don't have one directly related to union busting at Target, but I did work at one while it was being remodeled back in 2003. This one 2300 West Ben White Boulevard Austin, TX, in fact.
The whole front of the store got ripped out, the only thing keeping the weather (such as it is in Texas during the summer) was sheets of clear plastic. the interior was re-arranged and a pharmacy was added.
The storage in the back for extra/new stock was re-organized. The only thing they didn't change was the back and side walls.

It went on for months, and that store never closed.

Hell, that's the store where 3 rednecks crashed in through the front and tried to steal the ATM twice! and that store never closed.

So that closed for 7 months to remodel? total bullshit.

Shall we close with some unfiltered rage from a former Target employee? Sure, why not?

I worked for Target for about eight months and I can say that there wasn't a single day the flourescent sting of that white-washed hell hole didn't make me want to kill myself. Not only are they anti-union, they are anti-christs. It wasn't uncommon to see a co-worker on their break silently crying from some dickhead manager emotionally bullying and harrassing them.

Before I get too worked up, I want to get back on point and say that when I was training we had to watch a video SPECIFICALLY about the union. They cover up their powerlust to own you by making it seem like Target is a family corporation and all of it's employees are part of that family so welcoming in the union would be harmful to the strength of that deep and powerful bond. Once they get you to sign a piece of paper stating you are anti-union, you get hired. Once you are hired, they own you completely. I would go into work at 4 in the afternoon and then not leave till 3am because of they would understaff night shift employees having maybe 3 or 4 people zoning the entire store. Fuck 'em.

If you are a Target employee who would like to share your own story (or internal documents), email me.

[Photo: AP]