Home Depot Workers Reject Bid to Unionize

Harper Woods, MI, August 2--Home Depot Inc. workers at a suburban Detroit store rejected a bid to be represented by a labor union, a National Labor Relations Board official said on Saturday. In a two-day secret ballot election, Home Depot employees in Harper Woods, Michigan, voted 115 to 42 against joining the United Food and Commercial Workers, said Stephen Glasser, regional director of the Detroit office of the NLRB. If the union had won, the Michigan store would have been the first Home Depot ever to have union representation. The retailer has more than 1,700 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Glasser told Reuters that the preliminary election results would not be certified until after both the union and the company had been given time to file objections. He said there were 173 eligible voters. To win, the union had to receive a majority of valid ballots cast from the hourly nonmanagement employees. In a statement, Atlanta-based Home Depot said the results represent "a vote of confidence" from its workers, and added that its job package "consistently ranks in the top tier" among retailers. Home Depot store workers contacted the union earlier this year showing interest in unionizing, according to union official Mark Charrette. The workers expressed concerns about job security, pay and staffing levels and higher employee health-care costs, he said. Efforts to unionize have picked up steam at a host of large retailers in recent years, including Wal-Mart Stores, the nation's largest retailer with more than a million workers. The union has said it is looking to win representation at other Home Depots in Michigan, including a store in Flint, which is about 60 miles northwest of Detroit.

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