Earlier this week, Gawker posted a video that Target shows to its employees in order to discourage them from trying to unionize. A pair of actors warn new Target employees that unionizing will mean less flexible hours and fewer promotions. “We believe that working together, without union representation, is the best way to grow and flourish,” says Jim Rowader, Target’s director of labor relations, who makes a guest appearance in the video.
Salon’s Justin Elliott found that while the video is nothing but a 13-minute assault on the very idea of organized labor, it was made “with union actors and under the jurisdiction of one of the biggest unions in the entertainment business”:
A pair of smiling spokespeople dressed like Target employees — “Maria” and “Doug” — warn workers that, despite what they may have heard, a union is a “business,” one that is greedy for dues and will not be able to deliver on promises of higher wages. As it turns out, the video was filmed under the jurisdiction of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), according to actor (and union member) Ric Reitz, who plays Target spokesman “Doug” in the film.
“If someone hires me to play a rapist, does it make me a rapist? You take the job, and you’re an actor,” Reitz said. “Am I pro-union? Absolutely.”
On Friday, Target employees in New York state will vote in a union election, deciding whether or not to join the United Food & Commercial Workers International. Target has all but threatened to close the store if the workforce unionizes.