Workers at Home Depot in Philadelphia file for union vote

The store, at 4640 Roosevelt Blvd. in Philadelphia, has about 275 employees, according to the filing by an independent union, Home Depot Workers United, which is seeking the vote. Vincent Quile, the lead organizer of the group, said he was inspired to seek union representation by successful union representation votes at an Amazon distribution center in Staten Island, New York, the first union win at the online retailing giant, and more than 200 successful votes at various Starbucks locations nationwide.

Quile, 27, who works in the store’s receiving department and had been on staff for five-and-a-half years, said he’s not sure of the store’s exact headcount and he believes there are numerous empty positions.

“It’s one of the main reasons we’re doing this. Everyone there is so overworked,” said Quiles when asked about the motIvation behind the vote. “It’s pay, but it’s also staffing, it’s proper training, working environment.”

If this effort is successful it would be the first Home Depot store where all its hoursly workers were represented by a union.

Home Depot issued a statement saying it will work with the union vote process, but that it doesn’t support the union’s organizing efforts.

“We look forward to talking with our associates about their concerns,” said the statement. “Our open-door policy is designed to assure all associates that they can bring concerns directly to leadership, and we have a track record of working successfully with our associates to resolve them. We do not believe unionization is the best solution for our associates.”

There has been a surge in union organizing votes so far this year, according to data from the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees most organizing efforts in the private sector.

Between January through July of this year there were 826 union elections, up 45% from the number held in the same period of 2021, according to a CNN analysis of data from the NLRB. And the 70% success rate by unions in those votes is far better than the 42% success rate in the first seven months of 2021.

But only 41,000 potential union members were eligible to vote in the 2022 elections. Even if the unions had won all those votes — NLRB data don’t break down how many workers worked at each company holding a vote — it would be a small fraction of the more than 100 million workers at US businesses who don’t belong to a union, according to Labor Department statistics.

Despite high profile wins by workers at Starbucks and Amazon, the retail sector still has a below-average percentage of workers who belong to unions. Only 4.4% of retail workers are members of a union, according to Labor Department data, compared to 6.1% of private sector workers overall, and 10.3% of all US workers.

Nearly half of US union members work in various levels of government, not businesses. There are more than five times as many private sector workers than there are workers in the public sector.

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