Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday that Target Corp. layoffs will create a "very, very, very difficult situation" for thousands of Minnesota families. Noting the decision has already been made, Dayton said he nonetheless requested a meeting with CEO Brian Cornell to hear his rationale for plans to lay off several thousand employees in the next two years, largely at the company's downtown Minneapolis headquarters.
"I did not receive any kind of advance notice," Dayton said Wednesday morning in response to a reporter's question. He said he and Lieutenant Gov. Tina Smith, his frequent emissary to the business community, want to meet with Cornell "as soon as possible."
Cornell announced the layoff plans at a Tuesday meeting of investors and analysts in New York. He said the goal is to achieve $2 billion in annual savings as the company tries to rebound from several years of economic struggles.
Dayton's father and uncles built the Minneapolis department store company, Dayton's, into Target. He reminded that his family's ties to the company "have long since been severed," but suggested its status as Minnesota's largest private for-profit employer gives him an ongoing stake in its decisions.
"I think this could have and should have been handled differently, but that's just my view," Dayton said. Of Cornell he said: "He's relatively new here and it's a very, very important company to Minnesota."
Speaking of the fallout for those who get laid off, Dayton said: "I hope he's cognizant of that. I intend to find that out for myself."