Is Target Corporation Any Better than Walmart for Workers?
By Chris Serres
First published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in 2005
It was the fall of 2001, and a chorus of boos erupted at Target’s annual sales meeting when a senior executive at the company flashed Wal-Mart’s name and logo on an enlarged screen.
“This,” he said, pointing at the logo, “is the evil empire.”
For years, Target has cultivated an image of itself as the “anti-Wal-Mart,” a retailer that refuses to sacrifice workplace standards in the pursuit of higher sales and stock prices.
But now, after a decade of meteoric growth at both Target and Wal-Mart, labor groups say the two retailers are no longer very different in the way they treat their workers.
Target declined to disclose details about its compensation and benefits, but labor groups and former and current employees of Target in the Twin Cities say the retailer sometimes pays less than Wal-Mart.
…UFCW and others interviewed for this story stand by their information. “The only difference between Target and Wal-Mart is that Wal-Mart is six times their size,” said Bernie Hesse, a union organizer with UFCW Local 789 in St. Paul .
…Union groups have to focus on Wal-Mart because until the nation’s largest retailer alters its labor practices, companies like Target will have no incentive to change, Blank added.
“No one here is excusing Target or anyone else for failing to live up to its responsibilities to its workers,” Blank said. “But how do you change these very large companies? You have to go after the source of the problem, and that’s still Wal-Mart.”
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