(CNN) – Workers at a Home Depot store in Philadelphia have applied to be represented by a union.
The store at 4640 Roosevelt Blvd. in Philadelphia, has about 275 employees, according to the filing from an independent union, Home Depot Workers United, seeking the vote. Vincent Quile, the group’s lead organizer, said he was inspired by successful union representation votes at an Amazon distribution center in Staten Island, New York, the first union victory at the online retail giant, and more than 200 successful votes to launch a union Representation seek votes at various Starbucks locations across the country.
Quile, 27, who works in the store’s receiving department and has been on the staff for five and a half years, said he wasn’t sure of the store’s exact headcount and believed there were numerous vacancies.
“That’s one of the main reasons we do it. Everyone there is so overworked,” Quiles said when asked about the motivation behind the vote. “It’s about the pay, but also about the staffing, the right training, the working environment.”
If these efforts are successful, it would be the first Home Depot store to have all of its hourly workers represented by a union.
Home Depot issued a statement saying it would cooperate with the union’s voting process, but that it did not support the union’s organizing efforts.
“We look forward to speaking to our employees about their concerns,” the statement said. “Our open door policy is designed to reassure all employees that they can raise their concerns directly with management and we have a track record of successfully working with our employees to resolve these. We do not believe that unionizing is the best solution for our employees.”
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.
According to a CNN analysis of NLRB data, 826 union elections were held between January and July this year, up 45% from the same period in 2021. And the 70% success rate of unions in these 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 election. Even if unions won all of those votes — NLRB data doesn’t break down how many workers worked at each company that has a vote — it would be a small fraction of the more than 100 million workers at US companies that aren’t members are a union, according to Department of Labor statistics.
Despite high-profile achievements by workers at Starbucks and Amazon, the retail sector still has a below-average percentage of workers who are unionized. Only 4.4% of retail workers are unionized, according to Labor Department data, compared to 6.1% of total private sector workers and 10.3% of all U.S. workers.
Almost half of US union members work at various levels of government, not in corporations. There are more than five times as many private sector employees as public sector employees.
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