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Courtesy Wikipedia

Walmart is hiring, though it’s up to you whether you want to expose yourself to a deadly virus.

 

If you need a “to die for” job during the coronavirus crisis, Walmart is hiring. The retail giant recently announced plans to bring on 150,000 new workers. In addition to a paltry paycheck, you’ll allegedly get to work with condescending, micromanaging supervisors and plenty of entitled asshole customers. Better still, you’ll “serve your community,” i.e. risk exposing yourself to COVID-19 while you grovel around on the floor for those more fortunate.

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What exactly is each of us saying when we say nothing about working conditions that some of Walmart’s employees allege are dangerous and inhumane? We’re saying that it’s OK for other people to get sick and possibly die during the coronavirus pandemic as long as our own fat asses can eat. 

The classification of grocery and pharmacy clerks as essential workers is asinine, one more way for mega-corporations to rake in profits across the backs of some of our country’s poorest, most at-risk people.  Many of them are involuntary part-timers with no healthcare benefits, which automatically bars them from receiving adequate care if they do fall ill.

States have shut down, many businesses are shuttered across North Texas, and Dallas County has issued a stay-at-home order. Schools are closed. Health officials recommend that no more than 10 people gather for any reason. That sounds pretty serious and restrictive.

In contrast, Walmart –– the largest private employer in Texas, the country, and the world –– is steaming ahead carte blanche. In Texas alone, there are 171,500 Walmart employees in 600 stores and other facilities. Nationwide, Walmart has an estimated 1.5 million employees. 

Try your own experiment the next time you go to Walmart. Ask the employees if they have cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, or face masks. Ask them if there’s a single spray bottle of disinfectant for the cash registers and counter tops? Do you observe any of these things?

Something isn’t adding up.

Unlike the average person or business, Walmart is profiting from the coronavirus outbreak. Sales are surging to record highs. 

True, Walmart is offering jobs right now to people who otherwise might not have an income, but at what cost? The company is touting a $300 bonus for full-time workers and a $150 bonus for part-timers. It claims to be easing its attendance policies to allow workers to take time off if they’re sick or “uncomfortable” coming into work. Walmart says it will also provide healthcare for any employee with a confirmed case of COVID-19. 

None of this seems proportional to a company run by the Walton family, heirs to Walmart’s founder, Sam Walton. In all, the family has a net worth of more than $196 billion. As a company, Walmart makes about $3.8 billion in annual profits.

More warm bodies and throwaway cogs are needed to keep the cash rolling in and make even more money off frightened consumers, but recruiting employees into the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic is tricky, so Walmart is reaching out to restaurant workers and others who have already lost jobs. 

Desperate people do desperate things.

On Sunday, The Guardian ran a story titled “Target and Walmart aren’t protecting staff amid pandemic, workers say.” Among workers’ complaints are a lack of sanitation, zero paid time off, and crowded stores full of potentially infected customers.

Cynthia Murray, who has reportedly worked as a Walmart associate in Laurel, Maryland, for 19 years, blasted Doug McMillon, Walmart’s president and CEO, for saying some of the store’s parking lots may serve as drive-in coronavirus test sites. 

Murray said the move will likely bring more potentially ill people into direct contact with Walmart employees. 

“They are not really doing anything to protect us from the coronavirus,” she told The Guardian.

Albertsons is one store that seems to be trying to be humane. Published reports indicate that the grocery chain is installing plexiglass barriers in its checkout lanes as buffers between cashiers and customers. The chain also plans to temporarily boost employee pay.  

As an editorial in The Hill points out, retail and pharmacy workers need more during this crisis. That includes health benefits, access to health safety gear, and strict limits on the number of people allowed in a store at the same time, to name a few. 

“We cannot leave it to grocery and pharmacy corporations to ‘do the right thing’ –– many of them have fought vigorously against paid sick and family leave and safety protections in the past –– but the government must implement these crucial measures without delay,” The Hill says.

33 COMMENTS

  1. Classifying grocery and pharmacy clerks as essential workers is asinine?

    Try growing all your own food and mixing all your own medicines for a week and let us know how that works out for you.

    • I don’t believe it was meant as a slight against retail workers. I think it was meant more that if we’re going to be classified as essential, we should be given the same protections as other essential personnel.

    • Funny thing is, I was going to. Buttttt, I failed their assessment…. idk how. I worked there previously, but they refuse to hire me and i can’t take it again til September so f*** them.

  2. I did not know that I was an entitled asshole. I was just trying to make sure we had wipes and baby formula for our child. It seemed essential. I guess not. I did not know my neighbors were entitled assholes either. They seem pretty friendly, as well as the other Wal-Mart shoppers that I run into.

    The sad part of trying to stay provisioned when we are not allowed to move freely is that somebody has to do the work. I don’t think I can run to the cannery and pick up food directly from the manufacturer.

    • Oh my god you’re taking this personally. No one said everyone who shops at Wal-Mart is an entitled asshole, but workers have to deal with entitled assholes. Just today ten minutes before closing a customer was yelling because the money center was closed. We had people getting mad at CASHIERS that we were out of this and that. Prople buying PATIO FURNITURE when they’re OUT OF JOBS and there’s a GLOBAL PANDEMIC, and getting upset that we’re busy and short staffed.

      Just because you haven’t seen them doesnt mean they don’t exist.

      The entitled assholes are the ones coming to walmart with an entire entourage for fun because they’re bored and nowhere else is open. They’re the ones demanding the impossible from the workers. They’re the ones actively putting themselves and everyone around them at risk.

      This article isn’t about people just trying to keep their families fed. It’s about how retail employees are being potentially exposed DAILY and how the corporate overlords do nothing to protect us. It’s about how we’re marked essential yet are being treated as disposable. It’s about how the NEW EMPLOYEES AT ecommerce fulfillment centers who don’t even interact with customers and are actually THIRD PARTY FROM WALMART are getting hazard pay, but store level associates get a flat “bonus” and our distribution centers get nothing if you don’t live in Canada. It’s about how people who are actually at risk, because we’re potentially being exposed every day, can’t go to the doctor because we don’t have decent benefits. It’s about how retailers are raking in profits, and the only people who see any of it are the ones who get to stay home out of the line of fire. It’s about how a multi BILLION dollar company can’t spare enough for it’s bottom level employees. The ones on the “front lines.” The ones who make them that money. The ones who are risking their health and the health of their families not because they WANT to but because they HAVE to, because the attendance policy is still being enforced and you have ro jump through hoops to get a LOA… Which, by the way, you won’t get paid for unless you’re diagnosed to have COVID-19.

      You read an article about how mistreated essential employees are, how we’re not being helped or protected and even while holding society up we get the short end of the stick, and even acknowledged that we are essential because you can’t get food straight from the source, and made it about you. Congrats.

      No ones saying shut the stores down. All we’re saying is help protect us. Give us ways to protect ourselves. Let us wear PPE (which we’re NOT ALLOWED to to)! Give us a little hazard pay! Make seld quarantining a little more doable! And don’t be entitled assholes.

      That is literally all we ask for.

      And you zeroed in on “they called us assholes.”

        • Well fricking said ! I don’t know how many times a day I’m treated rudely by an entitled ass they get right in your face literally moving closer as your moving away . I can HEAR you from 6 feet a way thank you . They get upset that you made them feel bad . Get over it its walmart and I got at least 50 more on this shift alone that are wondering around acting like they are not sure what they are doing no mask shoving their phones in your face and then not getting why you are upset by this . I go home every night and literally I am gripped with fear is this the night I will go inside and give my mother who lives with me with every risk factor . Is this the night my job kills her or me ? I do the job because I have to and I even realize that the people absorbed with themselves would lose their minds if we shut down. I’m scared of this disease and what it means for me and my loved ones and if you don’t mind back the hell up and handle your own problems of where can you find the potting soil at or some other thing that sounds like a luxury to me because I’m hear to keep the shelves stocked . I am a person that always used to go above and beyond for each customer I interacted with on a daily basis and in some instances even now I do but I’ve seen the worst behavior from most people since this started and I just don’t want to deal with your me me me mentality right now . Small percentage of our customers are wonderful respectful aware and for them iim so thankful . For each reader of these comments I guess it’s truly time to play does or doesn’t the show fit? Sorry for the long vent . No one blames the customer it’s just the fact is the articles about us what were going through and yet all she saw was how that made her feel . Hello did you read the article we don’t have a lot of choices if you expect to be fed . Listen if again all you see was this then I bet the shoe fits . We are dying everyday we are not being treated well we are Risking our lives so you can think whatever you want I’m done no need to reply thank you .

      • Well fricking said ! I don’t know how many times a day I’m treated rudely by an entitled ass they get right in your face literally moving closer as your moving away . I can HEAR you from 6 feet a way thank you . They get upset that you made them feel bad . Get over it its walmart and I got at least 50 more on this shift alone that are wondering around acting like they are not sure what they are doing no mask shoving their phones in your face and then not getting why you are upset by this . I go home every night and literally I am gripped with fear is this the night I will go inside and give my mother who lives with me with every risk factor . Is this the night my job kills her or me ? I do the job because I have to and I even realize that the people absorbed with themselves would lose their minds if we shut down. I’m scared of this disease and what it means for me and my loved ones and if you don’t mind back the hell up and handle your own problems of where can you find the potting soil at or some other thing that sounds like a luxury to me because I’m hear to keep the shelves stocked . I am a person that always used to go above and beyond for each customer I interacted with on a daily basis and in some instances even now I do but I’ve seen the worst behavior from most people since this started and I just don’t want to deal with your me me me mentality right now . Small percentage of our customers are wonderful respectful aware and for them iim so thankful . For each reader of these comments I guess it’s truly time to play does or doesn’t the show fit? Sorry for the long vent .

      • You said it so right!!! We are treated like third class people never mind second!! All Walmart is after is that almighty dollar. They don’t care about their employees. Big deal we got an extra 300.00 dollars for risking our lives. That won’t even pay for a doctors visit if you don’t have insurance and many of us don’t because we don’t qualify. Not to mention how Walmart has raised the prices on many things in the store .
        Also like you said people coming in because they have no where else to go just to walk around the store without masks and usually end up buying nothing just because they wanted to get out of the house.
        They are suppose to limit people in the store well you could have fooled me by the crowds of people that were in the store on Mother’s Day. Have we lifted the limit?

  3. The irony– Just yesterday some liberal publication published a complaint by a leftist “politician for life” that there weren’t any drive up testing sites at the local Walmart.

  4. Of course customers need things. But it would be nice if these multi-billion dollar corporations gave their robots, I mean cashiers, some protection. They’re getting zero. The mega-corporations don’t want to pay a penny to do so. Just put them out there collecting the money, collecting the money, collecting the money. Have you ever seen how some of the customers talk to them? Throwing things, swearing, treating them like they’re dirt. It’s not their fault the stores are bare. Walmart employees do not have the resources other “essential workers” have. If we’re going to give them a title, let’s also give them some protection. EMT crews signed up to risk exposure to all kinds of illnesses; $12 an hour cashiers did not.

    • That isn’t exactly true. You likely have not noticed the plastic barriers placed at the cashier table to separate staff from the customers. (most of whom pay by cc-which alleviates cash handling) There are also antiseptic wipes and other precautionary measures in place upon entering the stores here in the metroplex where I live. I have also witnessed staff at grocery and Walmart equipped with masks and gloves as well as a separate cleaning crew roaming the stores I visit.

      I have not witnessed any rude behavior towards staff by customers, but that can hardly be the responsibility of the store owners, can it?

      • That may be true at your store, but for the majority of Walmarts, it isn’t. At mine, we have no masks, the majority of us do not have gloves, and our only sanitizer is a half empty bottle of vinegar/water. In addition, we have absolutely zero shielding, no limit to crowds, and have had to have a police presence lately when we’re stocking toilet paper. Just trying to stock eggs was a nightmare, as customers were literally shoving me aside. I don’t have a problem being considered essential— groceries are necessity. I have a problem being classified as essential, with hardly any extra pay, no extra precautions, and my only recourse being unpaid time off that’s a nightmare to get in the first place.

          • Dear Jack A**, do YOU LIKE OR LOVE YOUR job????? Most people work their whole lives for need in ALL professions. People like you need to simply grow a soul and conscience and gain manners.

            P.S. I don’t work at Walmart. No axe to grind. I’m just sick of horrible human beings such as yourself and those like you. Stay at home even after the pandemic. Thanks.

      • So your Walmart is one of the lucky few then, others don’t have plexiglass, wipes, masks, gloves, or anything. One of my local ones has one bottle of disinfectant and a half roll of towels for 10+ registers.

        And just because you don’t see your fellow customer treating people like shit doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. I’ve seen customers that get pissy for being asked to stop loading their things on a belt while the customer before them was trying to unload their cart and then turn around and demand that the cashier MUST bag her stuff. Not ask, but demand, no pleases no thank yous, just a “You will bag my stuff”

      • So because you haven’t seen it during your visits to Walmart it must not be happening? I’m verbally abused by 3 or 4 customers a day. One of my coworkers was hit. We have zero PPE. No appropriate sanitizer. No plexiglass. No hand sanitizer. (I supply my own) I have customers in my face all day. There are no social distancing signs. Nothing. And I live in Washington state. Where this whole thing started. I’m so happy in your world customers don’t abuse workers and workers have what they need to retest themselves from a pandemic. But, it’s not the reality for most Walmart workers. And I’m also very glad you don’t have to make the difficult choices so many of us do. I invite you to thank a grocery store employee next time you see them. The reason you have the option to shop is because they and their do workers went to work in these conditions. And be thankful you are in a much better situation in life. I know from experience though, it can change so quickly.

    • 1,500,000 people work for Walmart. At a time when doctors and nurses are reporting masks and gloves are in short supply it would be immoral for the company to purchase such a huge supply, even if they could find them. The risk of infection faced by a nurse in the ER is exponentially greater than a store clerk.

      • Masks and gloves are hard to come by, for sure. However, there is something seriously wrong when a 70+ year old door greeter has the options of either exposing themselves to COVID-19, or going without pay for two weeks. Walmart has the means to do something to protect their more vulnerable associates, and they actively chose not to do so in the name of profits.

        • Why would you even need a “door greeter” in this climate? You may need security to prevent shop lifting. But a “70 year old door greeter”? come on….

      • And the average store clerk is more likely to get it than anyone staying at home. But people aren’t staying at home they’re coming to Walmart for beer and cigarettes and candy and a brand new bike and that 70 inch TV they’ve been eyeing (they’re getting free money!) and that jewelry they so desperately need, and those new toys for little Susan, and the 5 yards of fabric, and 20 new plants and half a cart worth of clearance items and no groceries.

        • You are far, far, more likely to get COVID-19 from someone at home.

          In mid-January, a woman returned home to Chicago from visiting a sick family member in Wuhan, China. She was subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19. Officials identified 347 people she had come in contact with. These people were actively monitored for 14 days following their last exposure. Of these, 43 people developed fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Not really surprising since this was mid-January, in Chicago, in the middle of the cold and flu season.

          The 43 sick people were isolated and tested for COVID-19. Out of the 43 people who got sick, only one person actually had COVID-19, her husband.

          So, out of 347 people the lady came in contact with, the only person who actually got the disease was her husband.

  5. I work at a Walmart. Coming in for essential supplies is great. Coming in and browsing, or picking up your fishing license, or coming in to check the clearance aisle (isle to most who work at walmart), or most especially cussing out the manager because they won’t change your oil(Auto Care centers are closed) is unacceptable! You are needlessly risking your life and more importantly my family’s health as well as my own. Also, when the “guv’nor” does a mandatory lockdown at 10 p.m. don’t rush into the store. It’ll still be open tomorrow.

  6. Walmart guy here. Stores remain open to provide supplies, not to come congregate in. Come, send ONE person in, get your essential items, and get out as quickly as possible. Please quit forming clogs in aisles, swarming associates stocking toilet paper, and coming in to shop because you are bored. Thanks.

  7. You wanna talk unsafe and inhumane work conditions? How about giving some examples. Here, I’ll do it for you: broken pallet jacks that they refuse to fix or replace so that we’re forced to use them even though the won’t turn, stop, or even pull properly, putting us in danger when we’re trying to move 1000+ pound pallets from one area to another. How about the fact that they turn the air off at night to save money in spite of the fact that we’re there all night sweating like crazy lifting things that can weight 70 pounds or more a case. Team lift? Yeah right, we’re too understaffed to have more than one person help us lift. Back to the equipment: they refuse to even furnish is with enough of the equipment that is required to do a large portion of our jobs and we are the ones that get in trouble for not completing a task because there weren’t enough to go around. How about the fact that they don’t pay us a living wage to begin with and we’re supposed to be grateful for our annual 2% raise. Which amounts to about 22 cents an hour. Oh and the fact that most of us missed out on that raise because walmart changed the policy WITHOUT TELLING US and made it so that if you used four of the five attendance points that you’re allotted, you don’t get the raise. How about the fact that they took away our extra pay for working on sundays. Or the fact that everyone who has been here more than two years lost out on hundreds of hours is paid sick leave because walmart changed the PTO policy. That sick pto still shows with the rest of your pto, but you cant use it. Hundreds of EARNED hours taken away and never paid out. Condescending managers? Try condescending, hateful, vile, indecisive, manipulative, and hypocritical managers that treat us like dogs sent to take care of things that are beneath them. And all of this is BEFORE covid-19 even happened. 300 dollar bonus? That is nothing compared to a 2 dollar an hour raise that other places are offering for hazard pay. They’re not taking any extra sanitization steps, not limiting the amount of customers in the store at once, not paying us for leave regarding covid-19 unless we test positive and WE CANT GET TESTED! They attendance policy? Yeah, it’s still exactly the same as it was before covid-19. That letter was nothing more than a pr move. I’ll stop here just because I have to go clock in because I have no other choice for stable work right now. Sincerely ~ a walmart slave dog.

  8. Bless you! I am an “essential” retail worker too and I am shocked and outraged by how we are being treated during this crisis. The companies couldn’t care less if we died, not even following basic sanitation/hygiene practices and enforcing the attendance policy (even after a statement that it wouldn’t be enforced due to the GLOBAL PANDEMIC) so workers are forced to decide if they want to work sick/risk getting sick or lose their job. Customers continue to pile in the store, coughing and sneezing without covering their mouths, congregating in the aisles to “catch up”, and getting right in associates’ faces to ask if we have any more toilet paper in the back. It’s ridiculous and stems from a complete lack of respect our society has for these positions and how unskilled and replaceable we are. I would like to see some of these people, especially corporate, work at Walmart during this time and see how long they last for $11 an hour.

  9. Corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to stockholders. They must act to benefit stockholders whether in profit or by increasing the value of stock. The only consideration for employees is whether humane treatment increases return to stockholders.

  10. Meat packers (essential employees) were forced back to work so that we would have sausage with our eggs. At that time I was reminded of the conditions that Upton Sinclair described in “The Jungle” The immigrants in Sinclair’s work were Polish or other Eastern Europeans. They were people without value just like the immigrants or other minorities working in meat packing plants today.
    When the armed yahoos in Michigan demanded to go back to work someone should have sent them to South Dakota or Nebraska to replace fallen meat packers.

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