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Target Workers 2020 May Day Sickout

Since our sickout on May 1st, we’ve been working to tally the results and draw lessons from our efforts as Target workers fighting for proper safety measures and compensation. While a couple hundred workers participated in our action, it still remains a significant milestone in Target worker history. Never before has Target faced a mass sickout from its workers. Despite what Target officials claim as “fewer than 10 workers” participating, we can confirm the participation rates were much higher based on our sickout pledges and disbursement of Target worker strike funds.

Our sickout pledges were signed by over 228 workers, while our strike fund has been able to distribute over $6,000 dollars to at least 50 Target workers who needed compensation for lost wages as a result of their participation in the May Day sickout. We still have workers reaching out about reimbursement for participating in the sickout, and we are still collecting donations for our strike fund. We had broad representation across stores, and across distribution centers. This action has left us stronger than before, garnering more attention from the public and from Target workers nationwide. We’ve experienced an uptick in messages, phone calls, and emails from Target workers all across the country expressing their concerns over the lack of compensation and safety measures by Target, further validating what workers with Target Workers Unite have said since the start of the pandemic.

Multiple solidarity actions from Target workers and other essential workers happened across the country on May Day to show support. Our actions and their media attention concerned Target executives so much that they threatened legal action against CNBC for airing an interview with one of our members which exposed the routine health hazards we face daily as Target workers. Under the threat of legal action by Target, the CNBC legal team advised the studio to pull the interview off air. Thankfully some concerned citizens were able to save this interview and repost it for the general public to see. The full interview can be found here: bit.ly/CensoredTargetInterview

The concerns of Target workers have only increased as many states are lifting restrictions and reopening the economy. Workers are terrified at the prospect of a second wave of the virus, especially as we head towards the fall/winter of 2020 and the holiday shopping season which starts with Black Friday. Increased foot traffic, loosening of store restrictions (including accepting guest returns, reopening in-store Starbucks, and other measures) all mean increased likelihood of transmitting the virus between workers and guests in our stores and distribution centers. 

We are fighting for our lives. Target workers have already died from this virus. More will continue to contract the virus and die from it unless we workers get organized and fight harder for more safety measures, such as shutting off foot traffic inside our stores to workers only. 2020 1Q reports show Target Corporation is beating projected sales, all off the backs of the workers who keep our supply chains functioning during the crisis. As we workers move forward, we will continue to organize and fight for our lives and the lives of all workers across industries and borders.

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Team Member Account on Applying for COVID19 Leave

Amongst the Coronavirus crisis Target decided to offer each team member 30 days paid leave if they have any condition listed by the CDC as high risk. Yet management at my store did not tell team members about it. I only learned about the vulnerable Team Member paid leave through a Target employee from a different store. 

The leave request is handled entirely through the Pay and Benefits number. Their menu has no clear direction as to which department handles the Coronavirus related leave requests. I had to cycle through all the options for 2 hours until I found the right department. 

Altogether my first phone call took over 4 hours to talk to someone. They took my request, gave me the dates of my leave, and asked me to send a picture of my prescription bottle via email as proof of my condition. 

The leave pay is calculated by taking the team member’s average hours and halving that. My average hours is 16 but my medical leave pay will only be half of that. They do not tell you this upfront. I had to ask the representative how they calculate the pay because they give the impression you’ll get your full average hours worth of pay, not half.

I waited several days for a confirmation email to be sent back to me about the proof of diabetes. Finally I tried to call them back but for two days they were so overloaded with calls they were rejecting new calls. When I was  finally able to talk to a representative I was told I’d need a doctor’s note stating I need to be in quarantine for 30 days.

It took me over a day to get in touch with my doctor and during this time I didn’t know if the dates I were given for my leave were in effect or not, since it hadn’t been approved yet, or if I would even be paid for the leave. I couldn’t get any clear answers out of anyone at Target. 

I tried to be patient about getting a confirmation email back because I knew the call centers were overwhelmed but after two days I called them again to confirmed they got the doctor’s note. After waiting another 2 hours on hold the representative confirmed they received the note and they would send an email to me when they either reject my leave request or approve it. They had no estimate of when I will get the email as they are so overwhelmed.

Finally, after 8 days of uncertainty, over 10 combined hours of waiting, and many emails I got an email confirming my medical leave was approved. 

Target is touting the paid leave for vulnerable team members as a show of how much they care for their employees but how difficult and convoluted the process is reveals it’s just a PR move and they don’t care at all about their workers.

Help fellow Target team members get the proper protection and compensation we deserve as essential workers! Sign our petition and share with coworkers today!

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Target Workers Exposed to Coronavirus for the Sake of Profit

Target CEO Brian Cornell ignores CDC guidelines by shaking hands with the negligent Trump during the COVID19 national emergency

Since the COVID19 pandemic began Target workers have been living in fear as high risk essential workers. On March 13th Target CEO Brian Cornell and Trump appeared together for his first press conference to declare the COVID19 pandemic as a national emergency while assuring Americans that our stores will remain open.

Both Trump and Cornell have pressed upon the general public and Target workers that we’ll be taken care of while lauding each other’s half measures to ensure our safety and compensation. But we know the reality of the situation is far worse than what either of these two corporate shills are telling us. This is why we’re sharing direct accounts of Target team members being exposed to COVID19 and the efforts by Target corporation and management to deny us the benefits they claim to offer as they threaten team members for taking direct action to protect ourselves for wearing personal protection equipment (PPE), which the company thinks is unnecessary despite what the CDC says.

they say he’s presumptive positive

I was working up front, which means Cashiering, Self Checkout, and at the Guest Service desk as well as helping out with various tasks in that area. Most of the time I was on a register. I wore a mask to work the week before because I had been sneezing recently and although I thought it was allergies, I wanted to be on the safe side and not pass something on. At this time [our state] had only announced 1 confirmed case of COVID19.

On the second day of wearing a mask, my direct supervisor took me aside and told me that, due to “guest perception,” that home office’s statement on “this” was: “If you feel sick, you can wear a mask; but that means you’re sick and you can go home, and this absence will be excused.” I asked them to clarify and they repeated the same roundabout explanation, so I clarified that they meant that I couldn’t wear a mask at work, but I could go home “sick” and have that absence count against me. They confirmed that was correct, and asked me “Do you feel sick?” I said no, and took off my mask. 


When I returned to work that Wednesday, we were all told that we were “supposed to wipe down everything every half hour,” but the supervisor that day rolled their eyes and added “Just wipe down whenever it’s not busy.” No one was concerned but me. Then on Friday the 20th, the day I left, there was a dedicated Team Member going around wiping down everything semi-regularly, though when they went on lunch and after they left, no one took their place. I wiped stuff down myself after that. 

Of course we were slammed all day, and I was in close contact (because when standing in my spot at a register it is impossible to remain 6 feet away from someone) with tons of people. Healthcare workers in scrubs, people who were coughing, elderly people, people who were turning down hand sanitizer when I offered it to them and who were poo-poohing the idea of the virus completely. Finally, a woman came through my line and leaned closer to say to me: “My husband has organ failure and is in the hospital for surgery; now he’s got something wrong with his lungs and they say he’s presumptive positive.” I finished ringing her up and said I needed to go to the bathroom, and switched out with another TM. I told my supervisors that I was leaving. The next day I found out that home office had issued a statement that we were now allowed to wear masks at work, but no one had informed me of that when I was there. 

Anonymous Target Team Member

“you do not meet the eligibility requirements”

This isn’t an uncommon account, in other Target stores where team members have tested positive for COVID19 Target will not shut down the stores. Meanwhile the paid leave offered to immunocompromised team members is being denied to team members for not averaging enough hours. Prior to the pandemic we were experiencing an extreme cut to our hours, which is the reason why some team members won’t be approved for COVID19 paid leave. We know Brian Cornell and the upper management of Target don’t have to worry about any of these issues as they get the luxury of working from home while being paid hundreds of times more than us rank and file Target workers.

We’re taking all the risks as Target workers, we need full compensation which includes full coverage of all medical expenses when we contract the coronavirus as a result of Target’s failure to fully comply with CDC guidelines. We have the right to refuse unsafe work conditions. We can’t wait for Cornell or others to ensure our safety, we have to take direct action and wear all PPE the CDC recommends including gloves, masks, and eye protection, while demanding the corporation install sneeze guards at the registers, enforce social distancing and the 10-person rule for gatherings. Please sign our petition below and share it with coworkers as we organize and fight for fair compensation and safety during this national emergency. We are essential workers and we deserve to be treated as essential workers!

Sign the Target Worker COVID19 Emergency Petition!

If you have an account to share of exposure to COVID19 in your store, having issues with claiming your COVID19 benefits, or any other store issues as a Target worker please reach out to us so we can continue to provide on the ground updates and reports across all Target stores!

submit worker reports here