What Target says in new video is not what Target means

Target is at it again. The country’s third-largest retailer has long been anti-union, and it has a new version of its hilarious propaganda video meant to scare workers away from organizing for a voice on the job. Gawker and other sources have run the video, which is filled with so many lines that are dishonest or misleading that you have to double check to make sure it isn’t a comedy piece produced by The Onion.

You might find the video a bit hard to stomach, so here is a compilation of some of the most ridiculous statements in the video and what Target might really mean when it says those words….

What they say: “Property of Target. Do not duplicate.” What they mean: “We know what we’re saying is kind of embarrassing, so we don’t want anybody else to see it.”

What they say: “Some day, someone you don’t know may approach you at work, or try to visit you at home, asking you to sign your name to an authorization card, petition or some other union document.” What they mean: “Scary ‘thugs’ are coming to get you.”

If you want to see some truly “scary” union “thugs” check out unionhugs.com

What they say: “You may even receive phone calls, emails or text messages asking you to commit to the union. And we want you to be as knowledgeable as possible before you make your choice.” What they mean: “We want you to be as knowledgeable as possible about our anti-union propaganda to discourage you from joining a union.”

What they say: “Our union philosophy at Target is based on our confidence in and respect for our team members.” What they mean: “Our union philosophy at Target is based on our dislike of workers coming together for a voice on the job.”

What they say: “We know you face challenges here, too. But there are all sorts of partners standing by to help you out, like your leadership team and your fellow team members.” What they mean: “If you face a challenge at Target, you should talk to one of your co-workers about it, because management doesn’t really want to hear it.”

What they say: “There’s nothing we can’t solve if we work together.” What they mean: “Except wages, benefits, collective bargaining rights, career options, etc.”

What they say: “At Target, an open door policy isn’t just a catchphrase, it’s a policy.” What they mean: “At Target, an open door policy is just a catchphrase, it isn’t a policy.”

What they say: “A union is not a charity, it’s not a club and it’s not a part of the government. A union is a business.” What they mean: “We know you hate businesses, so we’re calling unions businesses. But we’re not a business, so that doesn’t apply to us.”

What they say: “Unions may have been needed in the past, to help workers fight for things like child safety and workers’ compensation, but now that type of protection is provided by state and federal laws that have been passed in the last 50 years. Nobody wants to pay dues for something they already have.” What they mean: “Unions have already won too many rights for workers and we’re trying to reverse that trend.”

What they say: “Today if you want the chance to pick up additional hours, you can get cross-trained and become a more valuable member of the team. But, under a rigid union contract, you could easily lose that option.” What they mean: “Even we don’t believe this one.”

What they say: “A union can’t guarantee you anything.” What they mean: “Whereas we can guarantee you low wages, weak benefits and little chance for a good life-work balance.”

What they say: “Target makes decisions that are best for our team members, shareholders, and guests.”

The above article was printed in the AFL-CIO Now blog.

Photo: Damian Dovarganes/AP