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Reports: Target Workers Join Unionization Push as Virginia Store Files to Hold an Election

Associates at a Target store in Christiansburg, Va. have reportedly filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a union election, according to CNBC, The New Republic and other media outlets. The workers aim to get representation through the New River Valley General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World.

The location has approximately 100 employees, according to the petition filed with the NLRB. However, there may be more employees interested in unionizing. Adam Ryan, one of the lead organizers at Target Workers Unite, the organization leading the effort, estimates that workers at about six locations have active but early-stage campaigns, according to The New Republic.

Target has not made an official statement regarding the effort, but the company has been making significant investments in its workforce for some time. The latest announcement came in February 2022, when the retailer set a starting wage range of $15 to $24 per hour and reduced the requirements to receive benefits from 30 down to 25 hours per week. Target also has reduced enrollment waiting periods and provided more options, including no-cost virtual physical therapy, enhanced fertility benefits and updated wellness offerings.

Target is just the latest retailer to be targeted in a spike of union activity across the country. Starbucks has been the most heavily impacted, with 64 stores voting to unionize and more than 250 petitions filed with the NLRB. The retailer has been combatting the push with higher pay and more training for non-unionized associates, along with warnings that unionized workers may not be eligible for these benefits.

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Amazon has seen fewer elections, but each of its warehouses contains more workers than the average retail store. Amazon employees in Staten Island, N.Y. became the first unionized warehouse in April 2022, while a second warehouse in the area rejected the unionization push in a 380 to 618 vote. Workers at an Apple location in Atlanta and a flagship store in New York City also have filed for union elections, with more stores reportedly running their own unionization campaigns.

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