Home Depot workers reject union

Staff at Michigan store vote overwhelmingly against forming a union

Workers at a Home Depot in Michigan rejected an attempt by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) to unionize their store. It would have been the first Home Depot in the U.S. to be unionized.

According to the Detroit Free Press fewer than 30 per cent of the 172 workers supported the move to unionize the store in Harper Woods, Mich. — which is less than the number that petitioned the National Labour Relations Board to conduct the election.

The final tally: 115 votes against certification and 42 for union representation. Alicia Franklin, a Detroit resident who works at a cashier and a member of the organizing committee, said she was disappointed and expected a closer vote.

Home Depot said it was pleased its staff had rejected the UFCW’s attempts.

“For 25 years, the associates of Home Depot have consistently rejected third-party representation,” said a statement issued by the retailer. “(The vote) not only represents a vote of confidence from our associates but confirms the Home Depot’s reputation as an employer of choice.”

Local 876 of the UFCW represents 22,000 workers at grocery stores Farmer Jack and Kroger plus a number of other retailers.

Mark Charrette, UFCW organizing director, told the Free Press that Home Depot workers were concerned about health-care costs, stagnant wages, at-will employment and work schedules.

“They are making it as hard as possible for the workers,” said Charrette. “Wal-Mart is probably the worst employer I can think of, and Home Depot is Wal-Mart painted orange.”

Home Depot is the largest home improvement retailer in the U.S. with $58.2 billion US in annual sales.

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