By ALEXANDRA OLSON, AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — The federal labor board has scheduled a November vote on a petition by Home Depot workers in Philadelphia to form what could be the first store-wide union at the world’s largest home improvement retailer. world.
The National Labor Relations Board said Wednesday that the vote will take place on November 2 at the Philadelphia store and that the count will take place three days later.
Vincent Quiles, the Home Depot employee leading the unionization effort, filed a petition last month with the signatures of 103 workers to form a collective bargaining unit for employees working in the company’s merchandising, specialty and operations departments. store. The original petition said the union would represent 274 workers, but Quiles said the number is now 266 after a recount and some discussions with Home Depot about which workers to include.
Quiles said he hopes the vote will be a draw. There is a generational divide between younger workers who are generally more enthusiastic about the idea of a union and older employees who are more cautious, he said. Dissatisfaction with compensation, working conditions and lack of staff are the main complaints behind the effort, he said.
“At least the filing of this petition gave people a little bit of hope … that someone actually cares,” he said. “I hope we can capitalize on that hope and make people realize that if you want change, you have to fight for it.”
Home Depot doesn’t “believe that unionization is the best solution for our associates,” said Margaret Smith, a company spokeswoman.
“Our open door policy is designed to assure all associates that they can raise concerns directly with leadership, and we have a history of successfully working with our associates to resolve those concerns,” he said.
Quiles said that, in practice, managers often dismiss concerns raised by employees who take advantage of the open-door policy.
The labor board’s database indicates that next month’s vote will be the first attempt to form a store-wide union at Home Depot. The Atlanta-based company employs about 500,000 people at its 2,316 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
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