A group of Target employees who announced a strike and called for a boycott of the Pikesville location Monday returned to work Wednesday, saying the store manager at the center of their complaints had been absent from the store this week amid an internal investigation.
About five of the store’s more than 200 employees took part in the two-day work stoppage, according to Nikolas Mosby, one of the organizers. A group of at least three of them — as well as representatives of the advocacy group Target Workers Unite and the Democratic Socialists of America — marched on the store Monday in a video posted to Facebook.
The striking workers have called for the firing of the store manager, Kate Harley, whom they blamed for a “hostile work environment,” retaliatory cutting of employees’ hours and other issues.
Harley, who has not been managing the store this week, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
A manager on duty at the Target, at 1737 Reisterstown Road, referred questions to the company’s corporate media team.
A Target corporate spokeswoman, who said Monday that the company had opened an internal investigation at the Pikesville location, confirmed that Harley had not been at the store the past three days but denied the workers’ claims that she had been removed from her job or placed on leave.
“It’s completely unrelated to the situation,” said Danielle Schumann, the Target corporate spokeswoman. “Claims that our store leader has been removed or is on leave because of this situation are false and inaccurate.”
She declined to provide further details.
After word of the planned strike leaked to management last week, some employees were interviewed Friday about the situation, said Adam Ryan, of Target Workers Unite, who organized the protest.
Corporate officials visited the location Wednesday and helped employees clean and organize the store, Mosby said. But they did not ask him about the strike or the situation that prompted it, he said.
“It was calm and copacetic and everything,” he said. “They didn’t ask me any questions. They honestly acted like it didn’t happen.”