feeling frustrated as an "essential worker"

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feeling frustrated as an "essential worker"

Unread postby phantomdog » Fri May 15, 2020 6:44 pm

i would like to preface this with stating that i am grateful for the fact that i have a job during this time that has brought job insecurity to millions. normally i have no complaints about the company for which i work. it has historically had a great track record for caring for its employees and offering impressive benefits for its part-time workers.

its response during this crisis has fallen disgracefully short of its legacy. money aside, my company has lagged behind other grocery stores in installing plexiglass shields at registers (something they only did after one of our workers died), making masks available to employees, and offering us no bonuses. not to mention nearly every safety protocol that has been introduced in our stores has been for the customer's protection, NOT the employees'.

now onto money. i am an assistant manager at a grocery store, i always show up to my shifts in a good mood and get along with everybody. of course the occasional rude customer drifts through but that was once far and in between. now, it seems to be the norm and i find myself being bullied on the daily. i have recently been assigned the role of watching the door to keep count of customers and to enforce our governor's mandate on wearing masks in public establishments where social distancing is not possible. most people are compliant and friendly, but the rude people have become significantly ruder. even in the absence of this abusive treatment, my coworkers and i risk our health and the health of our families for our minimum wage paychecks. i wrote a petition and got many of my coworkers to sign to the CEO of the company asking him to temporarily raise our hourly wages. no response. i hold nothing against the rude, belligerent, and demeaning rude customers because yes, as a manager it is my job to have patience for these kinds of people. but i am beginning to resent the CEO for his slow and frankly inadequate responses to the crisis. i find myself disgusted that he is perfectly fine sitting in his office with 0 exposure to the virus while the people who make him his millions risk their health, and many have gotten sick and a few have died. i don't know how anyone can be fine with themselves knowing that.

i just wanted to share this frustration and open the conversation to others going through this as well.

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Re: feeling frustrated as an "essential worker"

Unread postby Sam W » Sat May 16, 2020 7:54 am

Hi phantomdog,

I just want to say that all that frustration and resentment is entirely understandable. Working in a public space during this crisis is stressful enough but it's downright infuriating that, as you pointed out, many of the people doing so are getting paid very little while the people who run those companies get paid a lot for little to no risk. I do want to applaud you for that petition; even if it hasn't gotten a response yet, the fact that you went out of your way to advocate for yourself and your fellow employees is really awesome.

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Re: feeling frustrated as an "essential worker"

Unread postby noaccount » Sun May 17, 2020 11:23 pm

I'm sorry that's happening! I recently left a job for similar reasons... I'm glad you have some leadership and are looking out for your coworkers, maybe someone from a labor org like the UE union could advise you on next steps to follow-up with after the petition, or the iww I know has a Boston presence and has ideas sometimes for ways people can take action in their workplaces even when the shop's not unionized. Sometimes friends and family for instance have done 'proxy strike' tactics and picketed outside places when workers themselves can't do a walkout... good luck!
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