Goodlettsville-based discount retailer Dollar General is facing a union drive at one of its stores in Connecticut.
Chicago-based progressive monthly magazine In These Times reports that the Barkhamsted store would be the first of Dollar General’s nearly 18,000 to be unionized if its small group of workers vote in favor of organizing with United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 371 on Oct. 22.
According to the report, Dollar General corporate employees and outside consultants have descended on the store in a push to prevent an affirmative vote. That includes mandatory staff meetings and one-on-one lobbying.
Though one anonymous store employee quoted by the news outlet said “the place is like a family,” workers reportedly started organizing because a district manager ignored a sexual harassment complaint and was heard making racist remarks about the store’s manager.
Dollar General did not comment on the allegations other than to say the company has zero tolerance for unlawful discrimination and harassment.
“At Dollar General, our open and direct approach to communication affords our employees the opportunity to be heard, connect and thrive. We believe this open communication is a key reason we continue to grow and provide unrivaled opportunities for motivated individuals to start or advance their careers,” the company said in a statement to In These Times. “Regardless of the outcome of this petition, we will continue to strive to provide a work environment that is built on trust, respect and opportunity for all employees.”
One other Dollar General has successfully unionized, according to media reports. After voting in favor of a union in 2017, the vote was not certified until 2020. Shortly after, Dollar General closed the Missouri store.
Business has boomed for Dollar General in recent years and especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, though 2021 numbers have lagged behind 2020.
The business plans to open more than 1,000 new locations in 2021, according to recent filings. Dollar General reported that further federal, state and local minimum wage increases “could have a material negative impact on our operating expenses.