Best Buy, Inc. (NYSE: BBY) has found great success in its Geek Squad mobile installation and computer services unit. With Circuit City now gone (and its Firedog services unit as well, at least for the time being), Geek Squad is becoming quite the large margin center for Best Buy. Should the largest consumer electronics chain in the U.S. be afraid that Geek Squad employees will soon unionize?
Most large retailers have faced collective bargaining attempts several times in their respective histories. Best Buy -- responding to emails to Geek Squad employees with information about unionization -- has responded. The retailer indicated that unions would interfere with its ability to connect with and negotiate with each individual Geek Squad employee.
Really? It seems odd that Best Buy can talk to the thousands of Geek Squad employees closely, but maybe it can buck the trend and become the "big-box that could" in reference to taking care of employees without them seeking collective representation.
This will be an ongoing thorn in Best Buy's side. In its soft response to the emails that are floating into the inboxes of Geek Squad employees, the retailer says "We have been having meetings with you, asking everyone to voice their opinions and asking everyone to help solve the problems we collectively face in tough economic times." Is that good enough or just standard, anti-union lip service? When Best Buy indicates that "We are concerned about being able to talk with you directly" in response to possible unionization, is it really? What's your take?