Workers’ Correspondents: Walmart Meat Room Workers Overworked in Unsanitary Conditions

By JJ Williams

I was recently fired from my job in the meat department at Walmart because I fought back and walked out. It was too much of a workload for me to be doing all by myself every day, five days a week, from 4 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon. I resisted and walked out, but after I came back, they had me unload most of a truck, and then they fired me.

At Walmart, we are treated like slaves, not people. I worked in the meat room, where workers are expected to stand in a cold freezer all day long, tagging and rotating products, breaking down pallets of meat, and unloading trucks. The work is extremely difficult. There is too much heavy lifting for a single person to be doing all by themselves. There used to be a staff of 35 people, but now they only have five or six people to do the same amount of work.

The conditions are hazardous and unsanitary. All the meat that’s supposed to be thrown away every Friday is left sitting there. Before I was fired, it had been sitting there for a month. Nobody wants to come to work smelling like moldy meat. The bosses instruct workers to leave spoiled meat exposed next to pallets of produce that are going to be sold, which should not even be in the meat room. Organisms can jump—there’s a reason why there’s a method to how you’re supposed to store meat.

We are not supposed to leave garbage in the room and we’re supposed to sweep and mop, but you can’t because the managers come in and make a mess of everything, and the equipment we need is always missing or broken. Workers are required to use a TC70 scanner and printer but the devices are always missing, so how can workers perform their jobs? I told my manager numerous times what was going on and how things can be different and fixed but they did not care—none of them care.

They only paid me $12 an hour, and now they are dropping it to $11 an hour for other workers. I think it’s horrible how much money Walmart and big corporations make compared to what they pay us—that’s the reason why we stay in poverty.

We need to put as much heat on these companies as possible and get them shut down or make them do things a lot different. Something has to give.

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