Target’s Anti-Union Propaganda PSA

Rounding out the the post-Labor-Day work week, here is Target’s informational video educating new employees on the dangers of unionization. The confusing logic seems to be, unions are unnecessary both because they are ineffective (they are just after your dues money), and they accompished so much in the past (ending child labor, et cetera) that all of workers’ problems have already been fixed:

New Target employees are forced to watch this video so that they are indoctrinated into fearing unions. If you’re a Target employee, please don’t be deceived by your bosses. Target Corporation made over 2.9 billion dollars last year. You deserve better wages, benefits, and working conditions, and your employer can afford to give them to you.

14 Comments on "Target’s Anti-Union Propaganda PSA"

  1. Liam_McGonagle | Sep 7, 2012 at 11:42 am |

    Unions have shrivelled down to such pathetically ineffective non-entities that I wonder if what’s really going on here is that Gregg Steinhaffel and his lot are just using these films as an expense to write off for tax and to funnel more money to family members.

  2. I just got in a union 1 year ago, I work hard and always have.
    I make about 3x as much as anyone else around this area because the union stood up and made the company pay.
    Go find a job today there is nothing but service and minimum wage outside union jobs.
    Face it the reason our company hired me is because people are realizing Chinese  quality is near zero and they need North American parts for anything they want to be safe and reliable.
    If you bash unions your just bashing middle class and all you want is to decresse the 1% to .05% while the 99%ers gain another .05% on the backs of us all.
    Wake up unite and take back some of what they owe us!

  3. 6Blackie6 | Sep 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm |

    I like the usage of words like “might”, “could”, “can”, and “may”!

  4. If you’re not in a union you are an ’employee at will’ which means you can be fired anytime, for any reason.  No amount of a** kissing or amount of hours worked will help you.  If someone’s brother in law needs a job, you’re out the door.  I have been in unions for nearly 25 years, and I would gladly pay double the dues if I had to.  Unions are the last hope for maintaining a middle class.

    Who benefits the most from union bashing?  The employers of course!  Their message is so prevalent that working class people are buying into it, the same way they mindlessly buy into stupid, impulse purchases, driven by the hours of advertising we are subjected to on a daily basis.  I’ve seen unions do so many great things, but the thing they do the best is to give employees a voice in the workplace… a voice in safety, working conditions, wages, and so many things that are important to workers.

    The stereotype of union workers being lazy is being perpetuated by business, but that stereotype is long dead… visit any union shop and you will see people working hard, they have to, to keep the company competitive.  Off-shoring changed everything.  If you are not in a union now, you should be.  Companies have contracts with the vending machine people that are more respectful than the manner in which they treat their employees.  All upper management employees have contracts, the uniform supplier has a contract, vendors and customers have contracts… why shouldn’t you? 

    Companies love to bash unions, because it makes their lives so much easier if there isn’t one.  They can treat you like trash, threaten to fire you if you don’t kiss their a**, and generally harass you to the point that you’re working life is a shambles,  and you end up hating your job.

    Did you know that in Europe, almost everyone is union?  They start out with a minimum o 4-5 weeks of vacation?  They are paid a living wage and there is an amazing amount of solidarity amongst them.

    I know I’ll get a lot of criticism over this post, but I see the downward trend in wages and benefits that employees endure today, and the working conditions they labor under and it depresses the hell out of me.  It’s time to bring respect and dignity back to the workplace. 

    • Liam_McGonagle | Sep 7, 2012 at 2:03 pm |

      Why do you expect people to give you sh*t over this post?  I don’t see anything controversial or unprecedented in it.

      The only additional point I would emphasize is that current union membership is lower than it has been in over 100 years and has less than zero political influence over policy.

      Wisconsin’s recall election was a typically farcical tragedy in that regard.  The whole thing was kicked off by a Republican plot to circumvent democracy in order to crush unions, and in the end not only did the scabby bastard Walker survive, but the unions couldn’t even get their own endorsed candidate nominated to run against him.

      In America today, unions are on life support.  They have great acheivements to their credit, but they’re all in the past.  Trumka, McEntee and the like are only caretakers to their inevitable dismantling.


      •  I expected to get a lot of SH** because I have walked a few picket lines, and have endured some very nasty comments from passers-by, I have had food and drinks thrown at me.  I have noticed a very negative trend of working people despising unions, most of them have probably never been in one, and the prevailing attitude seems to be one of hatred towards unions.

        I don’t know if its jealousy, because of the higher wages that most union members earn, or if Hoffa and the Teamsters are still fresh in some people’s minds.  I do know that the average person does not know what unions have done for workers, and continue to do to this day.  I’ve had many a conversation with people on forums (and we all know that nobody wins an argument on the internet) and the intensity of their hatred of unions appalls me. 

        As productivity in the workplace has skyrocketed for the last, oh say 20 years, real wages have been essentially stagnant since the ’70’s.  I know I’m preaching to the choir in many cases, but I firmly believe that unions are the only hope for the middle class.  I  hope people will wake up one day before its too late.

        • Liam_McGonagle | Sep 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm |

          The problem is that there are NO labor leaders any more.  None.

          And people want leadership, not philosophy.  Whether in fact philosophy may good for them or not, the operational fact is that people do not currently have it. 

          The top-down industrial and post-industrial economic paradigms gear ALL of society’s institutions towards a passive obedience, rather than a questioning engagement.  This is especially true of the traditionally unionized occupations. 

          In absence for any formalized system for making value judgments of their own, people will demand “leadership”.

          They will observe the incidents and accidents of their neighbors and attribute consistency of word and deed to “leadership”. 

          They are utterly insensible to the ends of that “leadership” and whether it’s net effect is to worsen their condition or to improve it.  As I said, they lack philosophy, or the means of evaluating the moral content of decisions, so the only criterion they have left is whether a person’s deeds match their words.

          In these conditions, who do you think displays more “leadership”?  The Republican who vows to lower wages for everyone and actually pursues the policy?  Or the Democrat who talks about the wholistic benefits of more socially responsive markets and then signs “free” foreign trade treaties that always undermine them?

          Union “leaders” continually destroy their own credibility by supporting Democrats who don’t support anyone but themselves.

  5. Simiantongue | Sep 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm |

    We have labor day but the other 364 belong to our owners. On labor day they give the peasantry double time pay which is almost 50% of what your labor is worth. They’re soooo benevolent I tell ya, who couldn’t love them.

    •  Isn’t it ironic that on Labor Day, the bosses and management are the ones who get to take the day off while the laborers are the ones stuck working?  

  6. DeepCough | Sep 7, 2012 at 7:50 pm |

    Double irony: Target uses union actors to sell their anti-union introductory video for new employees, and just as well, union actors have zero qualms with making a video about the downside of unionization of Target employees.

    Only in America.

  7. Haystack | Sep 7, 2012 at 8:13 pm |

    I’ve had to sit through similar training videos. The only message they really deliver is “We intend to pay you shit wages, and we’re really scared you’ll stand up for yourselves.” However, most people who work at a department store are just there temporarily (e.g., they’re in school or whatever), so it’s damn neigh impossible to get them interested in unionizing, given the risks they’ll face in the meantime. 

    What really annoys me is that the people who run these companies act like they’re doing society a favor by “creating jobs,” when all they’re really doing is suppressing wages. If department stores didn’t exist, people would still sell clothes, but they might do so while working for a small business that treats them like a human being. 

  8. Welfare pays better than Target
    the average minimum wage earner nets around $800 a month
    assuming they work full time, most don’t
    an amount easily beat by welfare for a family of 4 (~$1400)
    and a frugal, single person welfare recipient could score at least 70% of that $800
    plus free health care thanks to Obummer

    if consumer capitalism is to survive
    it will have to start giving people money for not working

  9. The image of lazy union workers isn’t totally false but my only experience with them are federal employees. My dad teaches at a federal prison and most of the other teachers let inmates, who are supposed to be tutors, teach their classes. These people are making over $60,000 a year with crazy awesome benefits. Also, my uncle was a post master and the people under him would tell him to go fuck himself if he asked them do something and he couldn’t do anything about it. He ended up having a nervous breakdown.

  10. VaudeVillain | Sep 8, 2012 at 9:57 am |

    I worked for Target for several years, and I regret that no union reps ever approached me about joining. The benefits are terrible (technically you are eligible for a large quantity of them, but most are utterly worthless), the pay sucks, and I left because they were in the process of eliminating hourly supervisors and other improved pay positions.

    I remember being brought into a meeting room with about 20 of my coworkers to watch that horrid video during a union scare, I was literally shaking with anger by the time it was over. My HR manager at the time quit shortly after, supposedly for a better job (which is odd because Target managers make a LOT of money with really nice benefits, and while some of them do work very hard, most of mine were basically useless), but word among the employees who knew her is that it had a lot to do with her disgust at being forced into the role of union-buster.

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