Union asserts Target closed store in retaliation for workers exercising constitutional rights.
WESTBURY, N.Y. (05/02/2012)(readMedia)– In response to Target in Valley Stream closing for renovations on April 28, 2012, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 Secretary-Treasurer Anthony Speelman released the following statement:
On April 28, 2012, Target in Valley Stream, N.Y. closed their doors for immediate renovations on the store. Our union believes Target closed the store in retaliation for workers’ exercising their constitutional rights by joining together to demand a better working environment. Our position is substantiated by official Village of Valley Stream documents showing that Target does not have nor does not know whether they will secure necessary building permits from the Village to perform any construction or remodeling of the store.
Additionally the changes Target Corp. is requesting pose a high risk to the well being of all customers and employees of Green Acres Mall. Target seeks an almost 20% reduction of parking spaces at the store, while at the same time they seek to expand the store 14,000 square feet. The expansion of the store and reduction of parking spaces significantly increases the risk of vehicle and pedestrian accidents in the store’s parking lot. Traffic and safety study risks are still before the Village of Valley Stream zoning board.
There is no reason this store should have been closed on April 28, 2012. The only ones suffering from it are Target’s customers and courageous workers who tirelessly fight for better working conditions from the retail giant. The store will become the first Target in the country to close for a remodel, a first out of over 900 remodels they have completed throughout the country without a closure. The move will also replace and displace all of the store’s employees (only employees in “good standing with the company” were offered job placements or transfers) when the store plans to reopen in November 2012. While most remodels and renovations take two-three months at most to complete, we question if Target wanted to remodel their store, or their workforce at Valley Stream.
The employees at Target Valley Stream deserve to be heard. They are being punished for exercising their constitutional rights. Sitting back and allowing Target to operate with such indifference for their employees will, as UFCW International President Joe Hansen put it, “further embolden companies like Target and Wal-Mart, who seek to squash worker rights in the pursuit of unfettered control of our economy.”
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 is New York’s largest grocery workers union, representing over 23,000 grocery workers throughout the greater New York City region.