NLRB Refuses to Block Target Workers from Unionizing

In September 2015, pharmacists at Target Corp. (“Target”) voted to unionize in a 7-2 vote, making them members of Target’s first-ever union. Target contested the vote, claiming it cut ties with workers through a $1.9 billion acquisition deal with CVS Health Corp. (“CVS”). Target argued that once the deal with CVS closes, its pharmacists and other employees will no longer be employed by Target.

The deal between CVS and Target would pick up over 1,600 Target pharmacies and will be rebranded as CVS/pharmacy, which will operate under a store-within-a-store format. Moreover, CVS and Target plan to develop a few small stores that will be branded as TargetExpress that will include CVS/pharmacy.

Local 342, United Food & Commercial Workers International Union (the “Union”) – which seeks to represent the pharmacists – argued that the proposed sale has not been finalized because it still has to win the approval of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). Additionally, the Union claimed Target’s pharmacy will still exist because CVS will be giving them new jobs. James G. Paulsen (“Paulsen”), a Regional Director for the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), directed the election to be held despite Target’s protests.

Target requested a review of Paulsen’s decision because the deal was expected to close no later than January 15, 2016 and there was no reason to believe the FTC would not approve the acquisition. Furthermore, Target alleged the future of the pharmacists’ employment with CVS was wrongly speculated. On the other hand, the Union explained that if the transaction is not completed by March 15, 2016, then a cancelation provision in the Target-CVS deal might go into effect.

Subsequently, the NLRB decided in a brief order that Target had not raised any substantial issues to warrant review and refused to block the pharmacists from forming a union.

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Orzeck, Kurt. “Target Workers Closer to Unionizing As NLRB Won’t Undo Vote.” Law 360. Last modified on November 4, 2015.