March 18, 2014 - RussellI
Target is in serious trouble from the top on down
I am a university educator with 30 years on the job. I retired a few years ago. My wife and I have enjoyed shopping at Target for many years. After watching TV shows like “Undercover Boss” I wondered what it would be like to work at Target. They seem to portray an image of fast, friendly, uplifting team atmosphere. Newly retired and semi-bored with time on my hands I decided to give it a try. It was just before Thanksgiving I applied for a seasonal position on the sales floor. Being an older worker with a pleasant personality I was interviewed by two people and offered a seasonal position starting at $8 an hour. The people seemed friendly and we had our orientation meeting explaining policies and work rules. The personnel manager played a DVD for the group which explained the evils of unionization and the need to resist any attempts from individuals attempting to organize employees. I found the video somewhat humorous and a curiously paranoid presentation from the employer. I worked very hard thru the holidays and after New Year’s was offered continuing work part-time on the sales floor which I accepted. Working at Target was a real eye opener for me. Retail is very hard work and working at Target isn’t easy. Are employees treated well? In my experience, no. After one year I received a 9 cent per hour raise. I was never late or called in sick and was turned down several times for a day off with several weeks notice. I’ve read posts on this site about abusive and lazy managers and workers abused by them. My store had a number of these characters whom I would have fired on the spot if I had the authority. When doing pulls one evening, one of these “managers” told me to take only the biggest carts and leave the small ones for him.
I couldn’t let that one go, and I asked him “have you no respect for elder workers”? A young buck like yourself should be doing the heaviest pulls. He said nothing, but just glared at me. After a year of this I had my fill of Target and gave my 2 week notice and quit. Several days after I left, I got a call at home asking if I could work that day, even though I was no longer an employee. The Target management model is clearly something out of the 1930’s management style. I observed managers doing absolutely nothing for hours, standing around talking with other managers when the store was a mess. Giving orders for the workers to hurry up and speed it up so we can all go home.
The Target workplace has a lot of problems. These problems originate from the corporate top who manage these stores. This attitude and environment is acceptable by corporate management because it universal in every store. Target is clearly paranoid of Unionization an intermediary would hold them accountable for an abusive workplace. Yes, they are a big powerful corporation who can get away with a lot, but an organizing attempt is something they can’t control which they are afraid of. Unionization, good or bad, may be the only solution for a better workplace.