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Some Pikesville Target workers go on strike, call for boycott, citing 'abusive treatment' by management

Some workers at a Target in Pikesville announced a strike and called for a boycott of the store Monday, citing “abusive treatment” by management, including “intimidation, spying and retaliation.”

Some employees’ hours have been cut significantly without explanation, and in their absence, merchandise has piled up in the back room instead of being displayed on shelves for sale, a pair of workers on strike told The Baltimore Sun.

“It’s like a bombshell dropped,” said one of the workers, Thomas Chambers, a 68-year-old Pikesville resident. “There’s merchandise everywhere. Trucks deliver the goods, but they stack up.”

A group of about a dozen people, including at least three of the store’s workers and members of the Democratic Socialists of America, delivered the notice of a strike and their demands to a store manager in a video posted on Facebook. It is unclear how many of the workers are not striking.

A news release from Target Workers Unite, the group that announced the strike, blamed the store’s manager for the problems and demanded that she be fired “for abusive actions” against employees. The group called for a “community boycott and an indefinite strike effective immediately.”

The manager did not immediately respond to a message left for her at the store.

A corporate spokeswoman for Target said the retailer is investigating the workers’ claims and “will work closely with the store’s leadership team to ensure our team’s behavior meets Target’s workplace standards.

“At Target, we want everyone who works for us to feel valued and respected, and we take complaints of workplace misconduct seriously,” Target spokeswoman Danielle Schumann wrote in an emailed statement. “These allegations were brought to leaders recently and we immediately began a thorough review of the claims, as we do with all misconduct allegations.”

Target Workers Unite said employees “demand respect on the job and the right to a workplace that is hostility-free.”

Chambers, a 15-year part-time employee who currently works evenings in the back room, said he does his best to get all merchandise out onto shelves. But he arrives each day to find more stacked up — and not enough fellow employees to move it all.

“The next day it’s back the same way,” he said. “They expect you to come in and do an eight-hour job but only give you four hours of work.”

Nikolas Mosby, 21, of Catonsville, a Target clothing department employee who has worked at the Pikesville store for more than a year, said customers have begun to notice and complain about the store’s disorganization. He said the manager has cut employees’ hours — some to as little as four or five hours a week.

Mosby, who is on light duty with a hernia, said the receiving room in the back of the store is so cluttered with unsold merchandise that it has become difficult to walk without tripping.

“The shelves are empty because we’re behind,” he said. “We can’t actually put stuff out.”

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cmcampbell6

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