Filed Under: U.S.

Home Depot workers file petition to form company’s first storewide union

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Workers at a Home Depot store in Philadelphia filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to form a union. Vincent Quiles, a store employee who is leading the petition, said he delivered the petition with 103 workers’ signatures Tuesday. The petition seeks to form a collective bargaining unit for 274 employees who work in merchandising, specialty and operations.

“This is a long shot but I think we can do this,” Quiles said. “This is just the beginning.”

Home Depot employs about 500,000 people at its 2,316 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The National Labor Relations Board’s database shows no other attempts to form a storewide union at the company, which would make this petition the first.  A group of Home Depot drivers did successfully unionize with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters back in 2019.

Quiles said the push to unionize grew out of discontent with compensation and working conditions that rose as employees felt strained during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Quiles, he and other workers felt they could have benefited more from the record profits Home Depot made during the pandemic, as demand grew for home improvement projects. He pointed to two bonuses he received last year that amounted to less than $400.

“I would see corporate visits. They would say you’re doing a great job, you are so essential. You have to walk the walk. You can’t just come in here and say a bunch of nice things,” Quiles said. He said his store felt perpetually understaffed, and employees were routinely asked to work in other departments with little training, sometimes angering customers when they could not provide the expertise expected of them.

Sara Gorman, a Home Depot spokesperson, said the company is aware of the filing to create a union.

“We look forward to talking to our associates about their concerns,” Gorman said in an email. “While we will of course work through the NLRB process, we do not believe unionization is the best solution for our associates.”

Worker discontent has galvanized labor movements at several major companies in the U.S. in the wake of the pandemic. Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse voted in favor of unionizing back in April, and at least 238 U.S. Starbucks stores have voted to unionize over the past year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

WORKERS FORMING UNIONS HAS SEEN RECENT MOMENTUM.
HOME DEPOT WORKERS IN PHILADELPHIA ARE ALSO LOOKING TO MAKE THE TRANSITION.
THEY FILED A PETITION WITH THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD TO FORM THE FIRST STORE-WIDE UNION WITHIN THE COMPANY.
THE EMPLOYEE LEADING THE PETITION SAID DISCONTENT WITH COMPENSATION AND WORKING CONDITIONS DURING THE PANDEMIC — PROMPTED THE PUSH FOR UNIONIZATION.
A SPOKESPERSON FOR THE COMPANY — SAYING THEY DON’T BELIEVE THIS IS THE SOLUTION.
COMPANIES SOMETIMES TAKE THIS POSITION AS IT CREATES A MIDDLE MAN BETWEEN THE EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE.
WORKER DISCONTENT DURING THE PANDEMIC HAS LED TO LABOR MOVEMENTS AT SEVERAL MAJOR U-S COMPANIES.
AMAZON WORKERS AT A STATEN ISLAND WAREHOUSE VOTED IN FAVOR OF UNIONIZING BACK IN APRIL — AND AT LEAST 238 U.S. STARBUCKS STORES HAVE UNIONIZED OVER THE PAST YEAR.

Workers at a Home Depot store in Philadelphia filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to form a union. Vincent Quiles, a store employee who is leading the petition, said he delivered the petition with 103 workers’ signatures Tuesday. The petition seeks to form a collective bargaining unit for 274 employees who work in merchandising, specialty and operations.

“This is a long shot but I think we can do this,” Quiles said. “This is just the beginning.”

Home Depot employs about 500,000 people at its 2,316 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The National Labor Relations Board’s database shows no other attempts to form a storewide union at the company, which would make this petition the first.  A group of Home Depot drivers did successfully unionize with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters back in 2019.

Quiles said the push to unionize grew out of discontent with compensation and working conditions that rose as employees felt strained during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Quiles, he and other workers felt they could have benefited more from the record profits Home Depot made during the pandemic, as demand grew for home improvement projects. He pointed to two bonuses he received last year that amounted to less than $400.

“I would see corporate visits. They would say you’re doing a great job, you are so essential. You have to walk the walk. You can’t just come in here and say a bunch of nice things,” Quiles said. He said his store felt perpetually understaffed, and employees were routinely asked to work in other departments with little training, sometimes angering customers when they could not provide the expertise expected of them.

Sara Gorman, a Home Depot spokesperson, said the company is aware of the filing to create a union.

“We look forward to talking to our associates about their concerns,” Gorman said in an email. “While we will of course work through the NLRB process, we do not believe unionization is the best solution for our associates.”

Worker discontent has galvanized labor movements at several major companies in the U.S. in the wake of the pandemic. Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse voted in favor of unionizing back in April, and at least 238 U.S. Starbucks stores have voted to unionize over the past year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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