Target workers in Valley Stream, L.I., voted against unionizing Friday....

Target workers in Valley Stream, L.I., voted against unionizing Friday. The story would have been the first of the retailer's 1,755 locations in the country to be unionized. (June 17, 2011) Credit: John Dunn

Workers at the Target store in Valley Stream rejected union representation Friday by a vote of 137-85.

The voting, the results of which were announced at about 12:30 Saturday morning, was closely watched by those in both the retail industry and labor movement because the Valley Stream store could have been the first Target in the country to unionize, an outcome that could possibly have influenced workers in other locations to follow suit.

After the rejection, representatives of the union, the 22,500-member United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500, said that, in an effort to get the election rerun, it would press forward with unfair labor practice complaints filed with the National Labor Relations Board. Target has also filed unfair labor practice complaints with the board against the union.

Representatives of the retailer were not present when the vote was announced but issued a statement shortly after saying they would comment later Saturday morning.

Workers leading the union campaign had said they hoped that a union would be able to negotiate a contract providing a minimum number of work hours each week, pay raises and affordable health care packages.

Target has said that it places a priority on maintaining wages and benefits that are aligned with or exceed those of other retailers in the same market. Target does offer health care packages to those who work 21/2 days a week, Snyder said. The company also said it emphasizes creating an "environment of mutual trust" with its workers, promoting listening and responding to employee concerns."

"We want to continue to create the kind of workplace where team members don't want or need union representation to resolve issues," the company said before the vote.

Target Corp. had said in the weeks leading up to the vote that the situation in Valley Stream was specific to that store.

"We really do believe that this is a unique store with a unique situation," said Molly Snyder, Target spokeswoman.

Workers showed up as early as 6 a.m. Friday to cast ballots.

The store appeared to be calm Friday afternoon as a steady flow of customers wheeled carts down the aisles. Employees scheduled to work voted during their shift. For those who were off, the company offered van shuttle service from three locations or a one-day Metro pass, Snyder said.

Many workers inside the store declined to comment about the vote.

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