The Struggle at Target Store 1541

On Monday, April 15th, Target workers at store 1541 located in Pikesville, Maryland launched a strike to demand Target Corporation fire their abusive store team lead (store manager) Kate Harley. Harley’s abuse entailed creating a hostile work environment where workers were afraid they would be disciplined or fired for petty reasons. Harley’s favoritism is well known among team members at store 1541, workers also live under the threat of constant surveillance as Harley sits in the AP office monitoring workers over the camera system. Along with this team members have seen a drastic cut in their hours, making it impossible to cover costs of living. We’ve even received reports from workers that Harley wouldn’t accommodate pregnant team members and took away their stools so they couldn’t sit down.

As a result, workers marched on the boss to deliver the strike notice. It was upon delivery of the strike notice we received our first and only direct interaction with management or corporate in reference to our demands. After giving notice, workers started the picket line at the store entrance. Unlike our prior strikes in which our rights were violated, management didn’t make any threats to drive us away. We maintained the picket line all the way to April 17th, when workers delivered a return-to-work notice, based on our assessment that Target Corporation was taking the testimonies of worker abuse seriously. Kate Harley had been removed since the start of the strike and there was word an investigation had been opened.

It was to our shock that we found Kate Harley permitted to return as store team lead the day after workers announced the formal end of their strike. Workers took this as a slap in the face by corporate, that they don’t care what’s happening to the rank and file workers in our stores. We responded by assembling a community picket line with Target workers from multiple Target stores and with community supporters. It was a morale boost for team members after seeing Harley return to the job. Harley fled the sales floor when she heard workers and community members at the entrance chanting “Kate Harley has got to go!”.

As things stand now, corporate is conducting an investigation and interviewing team members about their accounts of abuse. We aren’t surprised that Harley wasn’t immediately terminated. In both prior strike actions against racist and sexually-harassing bosses, even they were not immediately terminated, but only after the conclusion of the internal investigation launched by corporate HR. Despite the state of the struggle not resulting in the immediate termination of Harley, this action was a success in several regards.

  1. We showed coworkers we have the right to strike and that we will not be retaliated against for exercising those rights. Not one worker who has gone on strike in our group has been terminated for exercising their rights.
  2. We showed coworkers solidarity and mutual aid are real, their strike fund was a success, all coworkers who went on strike received funds that covered more than their lost wages and many community members refused to shop at the store as we maintained the picket line.
  3. Since we have won multiple NLRB settlements against Target for violating our rights to organize and strike Target has now conceded (for now) over access to space we are entitled to, (such as parking lots, store entrances, the break room, and other non-work areas at the store)
  4. This was the first time Target workers have come together across multiple stores in the Baltimore area to link up and network so we can better support each other in our community. As a result of the strike we’ve had multiple Target workers from other local stores reach out wanting to get involved.

We have to view the struggle at store 1541 moreso as a beginning rather than an end. These team members reached out to us asking for help. We are here to support any Target coworker struggling with the conditions Target Corporation forces on us. All you need is the will to fight back and demand our fair share, we will always be there to step up and help out. We will build worker power one strike at a time and the strikes don’t have to be a majority of team members at a given store to be successful, as we have demonstrated in our prior strikes which have removed abusive bosses from our workplaces.

The “modernization” plan remains one of the most pressing issues affecting team members across stores. This has resulted in shorter hours and increased workloads as our paychecks remain roughly the same or smaller. In order for Target workers to get what we need – such as full benefits and a living wage – we will have to organize and coordinate nationally for mass strikes to force concessions from Target Corporation. The holiday season and the 4th quarter is the most crucial time for the executives and major shareholders to realize profits, a mass strike by Target workers during this time could be a decisive blow if we build enough unity between team members and stores across the country.

For those who feel such action is impossible, we would like to point towards the heroic struggles of our public school teachers across the country under conditions which were entirely unfavorable to them. They were in right-to-work states where state employees have no right to strike, join a union, or engage in collective bargaining, yet they organized through social media and facebook groups outside the normal channels of unions and non-profits, broke the law, got away with it and won their demands. If our teachers in our communities can do this when they have no protected rights to do so, why can’t we as Target team members when we already have more rights and protections than our teachers do?

We know there is a long way to go to organize and mobilize each other to engage in mass strikes and win major concessions from Target, but it’s a process, not a singular event. We have to work up towards larger scale actions by educating and demonstrating to our coworkers that we all can do this as ordinary people. In fact, it’s NECESSARY we do so, because the conditions are only getting worse. Walmart, Amazon, and Target are all competing with one another and using us workers to try to corner the market. No matter which one of these corporations win we are guaranteed workers will lose. We have to reverse this historic trend of degrading conditions for US workers. Our communities are suffering from poverty forced upon us by these same corporations who devalue our work and convince the general public their community members who work these stores don’t deserve to live decent lives and support our families.

We have to get respect and we won’t get it unless we fight for it. We can get our needs met, the money is there, we as the workers make these corporations their profits, we only allow them to keep those profits because we choose to not to demand respect. We hear from many coworkers that they take pride in their work, but what we need is coworkers to take full pride in our work and demand we be fairly compensated for the sacrifices we coworkers make to keep these stores running.

The future is bright, we can move mountains when we come together, build unity with each other and fight together to win respect and dignity for each other. We see what happens when we all operate as individuals and do what corporate and management tells us. We are forced to scramble and compete against one another, to out-hustle one another in the hopes we get a few more scraps, but if we come together and get organized we can make things better for all of us, instead of just a few. Take pride in your labor! Demand nothing less than full benefits and a living wage! It’s the least we are entitled to as the ones who keep these corporations alive! Get involved!

PIKESVILLE TARGET WORKERS RETURN TO WORK AFTER A TWO-DAY STRIKE AGAINST ABUSIVE BOSS KATE HARLEY

Pikesville, MD: Target team members at store #1541 have returned to work after a two-day strike over abusive treatment perpetrated by Store Team Lead (store manager) Kate Harley. Since Harley has taken over as the new store manager she has created a hostile work environment where team members (TMs) live in fear of intimidation, spying, and retaliation.

Because of the collective action of Pikesville Target team members and their workers committee an investigation has been launched and has resulted in the removal of STL Kate Harley. Team members (TMs) await Target Corporation’s decision to fire STL Harley for her abusive actions towards Pikesville Target team members. TMs still demand respect on the job and the right to a workplace that is hostility-free. TMs also demand zero retaliation on TMs who’ve written testimonies, gone on strike, and united together to form an independent workers committee as protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

Over the past two days team members have witnessed a tremendous outpouring of community support. Many community members refused to cross the picket line and honored our strike and call for a community boycott. Striking Pikesville Target team members also gained new testimonials from current and former team members recounting instances of abuse and labor violations. This included current team members who are pregnant. These team members HAVE NOT been properly accommodated, even having their chairs taken away which they used to take breaks as needed. Another former team member came forward sharing her and other TMs experiences who had been abused, unjustly disciplined, and fired by STL Harley at her last Target store in Colombia, Maryland. The community has also shown solidarity by helping raise funds to recover lost wages for striking Target team members.

Pikesville Target team members and community supporters are ready to take further action to ensure abusive boss Kate Harley is removed from the Pikesville Target store and will remain on standby if Target Corporation does not comply with TMs and the community’s demand to fire Kate Harley and ensure a hostility-free workplace.

Target Team Members at Store 1541 are on Strike!

Team Members @Target 1541 in Pikesville, Maryland are on strike!

Pikesville, MD – Target team members at store #1541 are on strike over disrespect and abuse perpetrated by their Store Team Lead Kate Harley. Since STL Kate has taken over workers are now stressed out both on and off the job because of her conduct, creating a hostile work environment where team members face intimidation, spying, and false accusations by STL Kate.

“Kate has been destroying Target ever since she started here. I come to work everyday stressed and worried if I can pay my bills and maintain my life with this job.”

-Pikesville Target team member Nikolas Mosby

Team members don’t feel they can trust the internal channels Target Corporation provides to hold someone in a position of power like STL Kate accountable for their actions. Team members know that STL Kate and District Manager Ryan are friends, this is a conflict of interest concerning her abuse and disrespect of rank and file team members. These team members have provided multiple testimonies (see below) on the work conditions under STL Kate, they are fed up with this treatment and demand she be fired from Target Corporation immediately!


“She is extremely retaliatory, and will go to any length to get her way. I absolutely do not trust her as a leader, and constantly feel that I am being targeted”

anonymous Pikesville Target team member

Target team members will remain on strike and are enacting a community boycott of Target Store #1541 effective immediately until their demands are met by Target Corporation. We are asking all team members and supporters across the country to show solidarity and call the Target Integrity Hotline to demand Target meet the demands of team members at store 1541!

Call 1-800-541-6838 or send an email to Integrity@Target.com. Target team members are making a huge sacrifice by going on strike, including losing their pay. This time of year is very difficult for team members financially as our hours are slashed, every shift we are scheduled is crucial to cover our costs of living. If you are able please consider making a donation to the strike fund. Stay tuned for more updates on the strike!

Store 1541 Team Member Testimonies:

Rank and File Target Team Member Survey!

We’ve launched our own Target team member survey! Target Corp’s ‘Best Team Survey’ has been seen as ineffective and not truly anonymous for team members to take without fear of being retaliated against for speaking the truth. So team members from across the country have come together to craft our very own rank and file Target team member survey. Please take this survey and share it with your in-store team members! We’ll publish the results to show how Target team members truly feel about the job and what workplace conditions are really like. It’s actually anonymous, we won’t share your personal info with Target Corp or sell it off to third parties. We want the executives and our communities to know what we are dealing with corporate-wide and use these results to help make change and improve conditions for Target team members.

Click here to take the survey now!

Pregnant and Homeless, Fellow Target Team Member at Store #1265 Needs Our Help!

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Our fellow Target team member Callie at Store #1265 and her partner are expecting, yet they’re facing a struggle many of us coworkers also share, and that’s access to affordable housing. We’re calling on all Target team members to help out, even if it’s just resharing this story to coworkers, family members and friends. We know this time of year is very tough for team members as Target executives slash hours and increase our workloads. Many of us are scrambling to get enough hours, even picking up yet another part time job to pay the bills and support our families. We will link at the bottom of this page to an online fundraiser to help our fellow team member Callie and her baby secure housing. Please reshare and make a small contribution if you can!

TWU: Callie, how did you all find yourselves without a home?

Callie: Growing up wasn’t the easiest, I was living with my parents who were thousands and thousands of dollars in debt, but they did what they could to provide for me and my siblings. With that being said, I started working around 14 years old and haven’t gone without a job or paycheck since. I started taking care of myself for the most part around then too, and that included paying for my own necessities and bills. As I reached the age of 17 I wasn’t living at home, but staying with friends. I’ve gone from house to house trying to stay afloat for as long as I can, helping out in anyway I could. But as I got older, bills got higher, and harder to pay. I’ve always managed to find a way to get by, but now with a baby on the way, approaching fast at that, there is no more I am able to give. My boyfriend and I do all we can to save and only spend when necessary. This has put the both of us at a standstill, plus with the government shut down currently it’s making it harder to get government assistance and help.

TWU: How much does Target have to do with your financial difficulties?

Callie: Hours are never regular and vary week to week. Some weeks you can have a solid 35-40 hours, but other weeks will plummet to 17-25 when you are supposedly “full-time.” Target has even gone out of their way to change the way they function and now says “no employee is considered full-time.” Even trying to pick up an extra shift here or there only does so much. When you’re sick or have to miss a day they act as if the whole store will come crashing down without you, and this can cost you your job.

TWU: Are they helping you at all during your pregnancy?

Callie: No. I’ve even made requests to be moved from certain areas or have said I’m not able to do certain things anymore and it took me being injured at work and having to file an incident report for them to finally move me. Im lucky me or my unborn baby weren’t injured.

TWU: How will you deal with the issue of pay or lack thereof while on maternity leave?

Callie: I do get 6-8 weeks paid and might be able to apply for an additional 2, but after that there isn’t any pay at all. I had to qualify for this, but they also will only pay me my average amount of hours, which has plummeted since November. About 10 hours to be exact. I wouldn’t necessarily blame Target for the short 6-8 weeks pay entirely, but also the way the United States handles our maternal care. I’m not sure how I will be able to deal with this though. My only solution would be to come back to work as soon as I am fully healed and have someone to watch my child. I don’t know what I would do if I was a single mother in this predicament. My partner is working full-time and it still may not be enough to rely only on his pay check while I’m off.

TWU: Will your partner be able to have any paternity leave?

Callie: At the moment, no. I’m sure he will get some days off to stay with me in the hospital and spend time with the baby and I after she is born, but it is not paid. So he most likely will return to work as soon as she is born.

TWU: Did you know we are one of only three countries in the world without paid maternity leave? Why do you think that is?

Callie: I did actually, which I don’t understand. All mothers and fathers should have the right to take care of their child and be paid while on leave. And a livable income at that. I don’t understand how people expect you to get by without a pay check, especially with a new addition to the family. A newborn baby is very, very expensive.

TWU: How could Target executives help your family through all of this?

Callie: Be more supportive, and lenient on pregnant working mothers. Accommodate their needs, and understand what our bodies are going through. They need to realize there are major, dramatic changes going on some of us have never experienced before. I’m lucky enough to have been in great physical shape before my pregnancy so I wasn’t put on bed rest. I also wasn’t diagnosed with preeclampsia or gestational diabetes due to this, so I was able to work a lot longer then a lot of mothers out there.

TWU: Why do you think they don’t help team members such as yourself?

Callie: It’s all about staying within a budget and getting a bonus at the end of the year. A bonus none of us hard-working employees receive, but maybe a .50 cent raise yearly.

TWU: Do you think Target respects pregnant workers?

Callie: Im not sure about Target as a whole. With my store specifically it depends who your ETL is. Our previous ETL was very accommodating with my pregnant coworkers at the time, letting them sit and take breaks when needed, but now things have changed and I’m not sure if it was for the better.

TWU: What do you think the answer is to this issue of being a pregnant worker who is struggling to find affordable housing and what duty do you think Target executives have to you and other pregnant workers?

Callie: If they were more accommodating and helpful it would help end hunger and homelessness, especially for mothers who work full-time or even part-time, and do everything they can to give back. I wish they did more for us, even if we don’t fall in the middle class or higher. Those of us under the poverty line need help raising our babies too. How do you expect homelessness and hunger to end if no one is willing to help those in need, even when we are doing all we can to provide for ourselves and our children?


Please reshare this story and consider making a small contribution to our fellow team member Callie and her baby here

Senior SFS Team Member Speaks Out from Store #2320

(editor’s note: we interviewed our fellow Target team member Joseph Viramontez who is a six year veteran with mega backroom skills currently working at Target store #2320 in Dickinson, Texas. Joseph is engaging in protected concerted activity by speaking out on his team’s work conditions and what they want to see changed in-store and corporate-wide)

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Fellow Target team member Joseph with his son

We heard you and your fellow team members were having trouble with Target Corporation and your in-store management, could you go into more detail about what those problems are?

Joseph V: My entire store’s morale is in the gutter. We have issues with scheduling and communication. Not hours wise, but more of breaking OSHA regulations. Team members are always scheduled in ways where they get no time to rest or it goes completely against their school schedules. Sometimes  team members only get four hours in between shifts. As far as communication goes there’s no knowing exactly what we’re supposed to do for the day. Come in during the midday and your morning Lead On Duty will assign tasks, then your Team Lead will give you more. It gets extremely confusing for newer team members and causes a huge mess in our back room. And don’t even get me started on the poor leadership at my store. It’s so bad we’re almost a month behind in freight right now. Thousands in toys just sitting in the back.

How long have you been a Target team member?

Joseph V: I have been a team member for just about six years. I’ve worked every piece concerning Logistics. Currently I am the Senior SFS TM and I have been in SFS for three years.

So you’ve been around long enough to see how things have developed and changed form when you first started, what are some of those changes you’ve noticed over the years?

Joseph V: As time has gone by I’ve noticed how little the company cares for it’s employees. They want them to constantly do more with less resources while not seeing the stress they put on their employees. It’s almost as if we’re in a toxic relationship with the company, and I say that because management will often gaslight their best assets for things already out of their control. The more the store “modernizes” the worse it gets.

Do you think Target protects bad bosses?

Joseph V: Yes. In a straight and simple answer. I’ve had racist and sexist bosses. Even when an entire team has gone to report it, nothing is done. Instead they get promotions, putting them in better situations to get their way and manipulate team members until eventually no one questions their authority. All because that leadership is “brand”.

You’ve said that you and coworkers have tried to through the internal channels Target provides to no avail, what do you think is the answer to getting these issues addressed?

Joseph V: We need to finally step up and say something. We have this yearly best team survey that is supposed to help corporate get an inside feel for each team, but instead of following up with the team members, corporate will always go to leadership who will say what corporate wants to hear versus what’s needed to be said. We don’t have a voice, and we need one. A single message that says we’re through being mistreated. We love the jobs we do, otherwise we wouldn’t have stayed for so long! There’s still hope even now when it’s at it’s worst.

What do you think needs to happen to make Target jobs good jobs?

Joseph V: The jobs aren’t that bad in my experience. It’s the “leadership”. They all want to be corporate pleasers vs doing the things to make the company more successful. They’re trying so hard to be the BEST everything store. They forget that happier team members work harder. Help us and we help you! We matter. We’re the biggest moving part. And if we all stopped one day then they would see. Hopefully things don’t have to go that far. We just want to be heard. We want to be taken care of.

After 16 Years Target Team Lead is Fed Up

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“I’ve been with the company for 16 years. Been a lead for 6 years. This year, this job has given me serious anxiety that I have never had before with this company. I want to lead and develop a team to perform at the highest level but the expectations and capacity to complete all the tasks this company wants is absolutely unrealistic. It makes me feel like a failure and a heartless leader having to judge an employee who has been there for 3 months based on an employee with years of experience.

Basically if they aren’t perfect at the beginning, they are gone. And guess what, you are not going to find perfect at $12 an hour working 25 hours a week. Everyday feels like a chaotic mess even when you make plans. Some changes are great but the means to make the process flawless needs some major reform. I contemplate leaving this job daily. I am just going to use all 250+ hours of my vacation before I do it because I have earned it and they aren’t going to give it to me if I leave.”

– A Target Team Lead in Georgia


If you are tired of the way things are and want to make Target jobs good jobs get in touch with us here!