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MISS THIS? NLRB Upholds First Ever Unionization Vote at Target, Dismisses CVS Merger Defense

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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled against Target, which appealed the unionization vote of a group of pharmacy workers at its Brooklyn location. The workers joined the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) in the first successful unionization vote at the company.  

The NLRB rejected the appeal with one sentence, saying Target’s case “raises no substantial issues warranting review.”

The case revolved around nine pharmacy workers who voted 7-2 to join the union in September.  Target sought to invalidate the election, arguing that it never should have occurred given the sale of the pharmacy operation to CVS in June.  The $1.9 billion deal affects all 1,660 Target pharmacies, which employ roughly 14,000 people.  

Target argued that, in the past, the NLRB has dismissed union elections when employees face “imminent and certain change” at an employer.  The CVS deal is expected to be completed in late December or early January.  Target’s petition argued that, “No purpose would be served in holding the election.”

The NLRB’s Brooklyn office disagreed, arguing that the deal would be subject to regulatory approval and could be subject to postponement.  The UFCW insisted that a clause in the contract would cancel the deal if it did not go through by March 15, 2016.

They union also argued that the case differs from those heard in the past because the CVS merger will not result in any operational shutdowns.  In his decision, James Paulsen, director of the NLRB’s Brooklyn regional office, wrote: “All of the employer’s employees are to be offered employment with CVS at substantially the same terms and conditions of employment.”

The case is not wholly in the clear because Target can ask a federal appeals court to reverse the decision.  Speaking to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the company will “continue to evaluate our next steps.”


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