Philadelphia Home Depot workers vote to reject first storewide union

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Workers at The Home Depot in Philadelphia rejected the first storewide union at the world’s largest home improvement retailer on Saturday night, a loss to a nascent movement to organize at major American corporations. .

Workers voted 165 to 51 against the Home Depot Workers United formation, which would have represented 274 store employees, according to the National Labor Relations Board, which oversaw the vote. The company and the trade unions have five days to object.

The defeat of organizers could discourage militant workers who managed to form the first unions in large chains, including Amazon, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and Apple, but who have since suffered setbacks in launching collective bargaining or creating new unions.

LOOK: Amazon worker vote accelerates nationwide organizing efforts

The Atlanta-based company employs approximately 500,000 people at its 2,316 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Vincent Quiles, the Home Depot employee leading the organizing effort, told WHYY-FM the attempt to organize workers was a “big order.”

“It wouldn’t be an easy fight to fight,” Quiles said. “But you do these things because you think they are right.”

Quiles has previously said that dissatisfaction with pay, working conditions, understaffing and lack of training are among the grievances that have spurred the organizing effort.

After the failed union vote, Home Depot spokeswoman Margaret Smith told WHYY, “We are pleased that associates at this store have voted to continue working directly with the company. This connection is important to our culture, and we will continue to listen to our associates and make The Home Depot a great place to work and grow.

Quiles filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the NRLB, alleging managers engaged in improper surveillance and interrogation tactics against union supporters. Quiles said officials followed him around stores and tried to disrupt any conversations he tried to have with co-workers, even if it wasn’t about the union.

Instead, Quiles said he relied on TikTok videos, group text messaging and emails to campaign for the union.

Home Depot denied the allegations in the complaint.

Fierce legal battles have characterized organizing efforts at other companies.

Amazon filed more than two dozen objections in an effort to overturn the Amazon Labor Union’s surprise election victory at a Staten Island warehouse last spring, the group’s only successful attempt to date to form a union. The ALU, meanwhile, has filed more than two dozen charges with the NLRB accusing Amazon of unfair labor practices.

Starbucks is negotiating contracts at a handful of the more than 250 stores where workers voted to unionize, but the company has asked the NLRB to temporarily suspend further elections over alleged misconduct.

The Labor Relations Board has filed a lawsuit against Chipotle alleging the restaurant chain unlawfully closed a store in Augusta, Maine, and fired its workers for union activity.

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