7 Ways Retailers Steal From and Exploit Their Workers

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Our newly evolved fast-paced and demanding lifestyles, combined with the ever-growing greed of corporations, has paved the way for retailer workers being exploited by their employers. Unreasonable scheduling, poor pay, minimal-to-no employee benefits are just a few of the problems that the 4.6 million retail workers in the United States have had to endure.

Smart awareness campaigns such as the Retail Action Project and Fight for $15, are using the internet as a tool to put pressure on retailers to generate awareness and push for greater social change.

1) Low pay

The average wage for retail workers is $10.29 per hour, according to the 2012 Bureau of Labour Statistic report. Although this figure is above the federal minimum wage, it is still below the minimum living wage for many areas across the US. Areas like Seattle and San Francisco, however, have recognized the importance of change and have both backed the $15 minimum wage; San Francisco is steadily increasing the minimum wage until it reaches $15 in 2018.

2) Part-time scheduling

Many Americans today are forced to work at multiple jobs in order to get by. Part-time employment and scheduling practices are being abused by employers in the retail industry. For retailers, hiring a high percentage of part-time employees is more financially beneficial due to a variety of employee entitlements that they save on, including but not limited to, no health care subsidies and no paid sick days.

3) Anti-organizing practices

Union suppression and anti-organizing practices are commonly practiced by major corporations, often being disingenuous about the possible repercussions of unionization. This problem is particularly severe in “right to work” states, which claim that unions pressure employees to join before ultimately entrapping them in a system which uses their money for their own financial gain and prevents the company from growing.

4) Wage Theft

It has recently been reported that Walmart is facing wage theft charges, depriving part-time employees of work by delegating assistant managers the additional work. The employees are paid on a salaried, and not hourly basis; this means that they do not receive overtime wages for their extra hours, saving the corporation a significant amount on expenses.  It is also not unusual for retailers to demand that staff arrive early and leave late for work. Typically, this extra time spent working is unpaid.

5) Unpredictable scheduling

Another of the corporations’ unfair demands are flexible working staff.  Employees are expected to work with unstable schedules, many of which are issued week by week, making it nearly impossible for employees to plan ahead. It is also not uncommon for the schedules to be changed only days in advance, and employees are then expected to meet these scheduling demands.

 6) Racism and Sexual Harassment

In the news, cases of racism, sexual harassment, transphobia, religious discrimination, among many others are a regular occurrence. Large retailers such as Target, Abercrombie & Fitch, Saks Fifth Avenue are just a few of the many corporations that have been reported for such offences. Yet it’s not just the corporations who subject workers to this kind of abuse, the customers themselves are often equally guilty by being unaware of these problems.

7) Little to No Benefits

For both many part-time and even full-time retail industry employees, work benefits are entirely non-existent on their contracts. Healthcare, paid sick days, vacation time and other benefits are not offered to a large proportion of the U.S retail workforce, leaving employees feeling pressured into going to work every day because of the fear of financial hardship or losing their job security.

 


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Sources:http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/retail-employees-wages-unions-working-hours/?fb=dd


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5 COMMENTS

  1. I know what you mean I wanted a part time job for a bit and went to stop and shop. The worthless minials scheduled me 6 days a week and 24 hours on 6 days. People who I dont shit on their head as personal toiled where so rude to me for being senior at a place nobody works beyond 3 month. Thus being a senior or supervisor was so big to these garages of society who though too high of themselves for having superiority for a moment over someone. That someone who would not look at them unless feeling who are these people they don’t belong to our neighborhood. I left that shit whole within a month. There was this minial kid Anthonio I consider not cutting his head off at work a personal achievement on self control. Anyway man to be percies I specified I want to work 6 or 7 hours shift 2 days to maximum 3 days a week. But they wanted people on 4 hours shift so they could abuse them and make them work so hard and pass out until tomorrow. Fur another barely 30 bucks. I walked to work in 2 mins some people commuted there for over an hour. I dont work there anymore. I left even they offered me a promotion. Because I felt a promotion there is worst than being charged with man slaughter. At least for my self respect. I never go there anymore. I mean not even to shop or buy anthing. Never. And I would not ask or suggest that anyone does. It is simple places that don’t threat their employees well should be always sanctioned. Always.

  2. I am a college instructor in Ontario Canada. 80% of all faculty are part time. We are hired semester by semester on “contract”. So we don’t know if we have a job until a few weeks before we are to start working.

    Our pay scales are variable by the number of hours we are in direct contact with the students (by contract)
    under 6 hours: $40/hr.
    6 to 12 hours. $115/hr.
    12 hours plus. $60/hour

    Each hour of contact time is supposed to include prep. time which can be about 1.25 hours per hour of contact time.
    Overtime is NOT paid.

    We have to provide our own:
    Computers
    Software
    Office Supplies (because we do our prep work at home)
    Internet and Cellular services
    Safety equipment (where required)

    We must pay the college for the privilege of parking because we drive to work. We do not get paid to attend meetings with administrators or students.

    Fun isn’t it?

  3. i work at a kroger in texas, where my wage is currently 7.75 an hour despite being there an entire year, from the day the store opened til now, only receiving two pay raises from the 7.55 i started at. while i was there, i injured my back working, and was told i had to get a doctors note to take the day off, when i did, they claimed they had no light duty at the store and scheduled me off with no pay for 2 weeks.this week, i have to get a job, most likely at walmart, because i told them i would no longer work after 6pm, due to the stress it and their actions put on me. so now, next week i work 14 hours over 2 days. someone, somewhere, needs to do something about this corporation and their ridiculous practices against me and my fellow coworkers.

  4. And yet Americans as it looks from the outside resist the idea of a welfare system like the one in Norway. I wouldnt want to live or work in the us if my life depended on it. Thank god I’m not an American!

    I am lucky to have job security, of I get injured / sick for some reason I will receive full salary for one year. Two weeks paid by the company and the rest by the government. If I have to find another job after that because unable to have stay in the job cause of health issues, there will be great arrangements to make it happen, like re education if that’s even a word, work at a place where they adjust the load to make it possible to stay in the job etc.

    Why is it that the people running these businesses in the US and others do not understand that a healthy company and society highly depend on making it possible for most people to stay in the job for as long as possible?

    Corporations should be forced by law to form their business to make this happen. And given extra bonus for example by having to pay less tax if you go the extra mile for your employees.

    And the idea of a totally free government funded health system is not part of some communist utopia. It is very much possible for a country like US with its resources.

    Just cut back on three or four of your wars and you will afford it.

    But by now I fear that all hope is gone for the US. Big world domination governments and countries comes and goes. I like the fact that I’m not directly a part of it.

    Don’t get me wrong. The USA has done a great deal of good both domestic and abroad, but if you are unable to learn from others and also unable to put that toxic patriotism under ground where it belongs, it will all be in vain at the end of the road.

  5. What about these places enforcing bullshit pollicies like shaving and earing face piercings and tattoos who are these people to say we cant be ourselves

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