Target, Unions, and the Moment of TruthS

Earlier this week we brought you Target's cheesy-yet-repugnant anti-union video, which is used to "train" new employees. Target has issued a (very muted!) statement that the video's no longer in use. That's not what we heard.

After we published the video on Monday, the website "Mogulite" ran a short post saying, "we got in touch with Target and they say the video is 'old and hasn't been played for our team members for quite some time.'" Strange, since multiple Target employees have told me they've watched it quite recently. (Also, Mogulite commenters: "I was hired last week. I watched this video last Tuesday. No lie.")

I asked Target to clarify this for me. After quite a bit of back-and-forth, Target communications manager Molly Snyder told me "The video was discontinued companywide in summer 2008 as it was five years old. As I mentioned before, we are continuing to communicate with our team members through a variety of channels including videos." She also said that that video "has not been shared with the Valley Stream team members"—meaning employees of the New York Target store that is currently the focus of a unionization battle.

Target, Unions, and the Moment of TruthS

Multiple Target employees have told me that they've been shown that video much more recently than 2008. Just this week, an employee who was hired last month told me that he was shown the video. "They show it all the time. The store I'm at is continually hiring people and it's shown at every orientation. Our break time is the same time and in the same room," he said. Also, the UFCW, which is working to unionize the Valley Stream location, has passed on statements from employees hired as recently as last year saying that they were shown this video. (Pictured on the right: Target's general counsel for labor relations and sartorial star of the anti-union video, Jim Rowader, holding court at the Valley Stream store recently.)

My most charitable interpretation of these clashing narratives is that perhaps Target now officially uses a slightly different anti-union video (which they're not sharing with me, sadly), and some stores simply continued to use the old video. In any case, Target is still a thoroughly objectionable union-busting and soul-sucking big box store. And speaking of that, here's the anti-union website that the company has set up especially for Valley Stream Target workers.

The store's union vote will be held this Friday. Somebody's nervous.

[Photo, top, via Getty]