Photo Credit: Etienne Laurent/EPA/Shutter Stock
By Julian Oddo
Management at Walmart in Charlotte, North Carolina has failed to enforce COVID-19 safety measures. Customers are allowed into the store without masks, and the company has not done enough to safeguard workers from viral transmission. When workers complain to management they are ignored, and mask mandates are not enforced.
The break room at the store was recently downsized to three tables. There’s no place other than the break room for workers to have their lunch, this results in workers eating within close proximity of each other. Between 20-30 employees congregate in the break room during lunch.
Mass layoffs were carried out by Walmart after the holidays, which left the store understaffed. One employee is now expected to do the work of two or three, resulting in workers staying past their shifts.
The worker told Tribune, “scheduling is so bad that my manager attempted to trick me into coming into work. He claimed I was missing work and would be fired if I didn’t show up. When in reality it was my off day and I had already worked the previous five days. Later when I tried to question this, he responded by saying he didn’t want to come in himself, wanting me to work instead.”
Similar conditions were reported to Tribune by another Walmart employee. “Management will micromanage everything at [my] store, except for following protocols to keep workers safe when it gets in the way of profits,” he said.
Walmart is the largest single employer in the United States, with a total of 1.3 million employees. The company’s profits increased by more than 7% during the pandemic, yet workers have not received hazard pay and protected COVID-19 related absences were cut in September.
Walmart takes every measure possible to avoid workplace organizing, maintains an aggressive anti-union policy and goes to such lengths as replacing management and sending in specialists when organizational literature is found in any store.
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