Walmart Decides to Try Caring About Its Workers

Months after Walmart associates started dying from COVID, stores will require masks

7/16/2020 3:53:00 PM

Months after Walmart associates started dying from COVID, stores will require masks

Months after Walmart associates started dying from COVID, stores will require masks.

Walmart’s belated announcement highlights an ongoing labor conflict. A store’s impulse to please customers, and its obligation to control shopper behavior in a pandemic, traps workers in a vulnerable place. They’re laboring on the front lines of a crisis that will likely stretch on for months, and their safety often depends on decisions made by other people — by lawmakers, by their bosses, and by the customers who still flock to their stores. If officials and stores don’t force shoppers to wear masks, they often won’t, and workers pay the price.

Instagram's algorithm blocked negative hashtags of Trump, but not Biden China seals off village after bubonic plague death in Inner Mongolia Unpacking Taylor Swift’s Huge Debut & Grammy Album of the Year Chances

Members of United for Respect, an advocacy group for retail workers, have been asking Walmart and other chains to enforce universal mask requirements, along with other safety measures, since March. In a survey of UFR’s members, only 9 percent said they could reliably practice social distancing at work in April; 2 in 5 respondents said they believed the company would protect workers and customers alike. Walmart waited another three months to listen. While workers welcomed Walmart’s mask requirement, they still want to know what took so long. “Why did it take more than three months and 130,000 deaths for Walmart to face up to the cost of this pandemic, and mask up for its customers, associates, and our communities?” asked United for Respect member and Walmart associate Cyndi Murray in a press release for the group. (Murray previously discussed her activism with Intelligencer.)

“Even now, Walmart associates have not received hourly hazard pay for putting their lives in jeopardy to keep shelves stocked and kitchen tables full,” she added. “Hundreds of associates and customers, particularly in Black and brown communities, have needlessly been exposed to the virus due to Walmart’s profit over people mindset. And while this is an important measure for public health, this new policy will inevitably put retail associates in difficult and even dangerous situations.”

Murray’s statement invokes a grim pandemic reality, and illustrates the possible deficiencies of Walmart’s proposed response. Not only is the mask requirement late, it also may place the onus of enforcement on workers themselves. That could be dangerous. Front line workers, a category that includes Walmart associates, have experienced rising levels of customer abuse. In at least one case, that abuse had deadly consequences. In May, a customer in Detroit shot and killed a Dollar General security guard who asked the man’s relative to wear a mask.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents grocery-store workers employed by chains like Kroger, has repeatedly warned that lax security measures put members in danger. On Wednesday, after Kroger announced its own mask mandate, the union urged “every governor and mayor” to “step up and make masks mandatory at all supermarkets and retail stores.” In the absence of such measures, the union’s members have suffered. When UFCW surveyed its members in April, it found that 85 percent said customers weren’t practicing social distancing. Another 29 percent said that customers have been hostile to them since the start of the pandemic. At the time, UFCW’s president, Marc Perrone, told Intelligencer that stores needed more security and involvement from supervisors in order to protect more vulnerable employees.

Read more: New York Magazine »

Beto O’Rourke: ‘Cannot hold out hope’ that Trump’s timeline on COVID-19 vaccine is accurate

Fmr. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) joins Ali Velshi to discuss why Pres. Trump’s claims, without any proof, that a coronavirus vaccine may be available before the November election shows a “failure in leadership.”

I switched to all my local Ace and other small hardware stores and Chewy for wildbird and cat food. Easy peasy. Love my local hardware stores also Home Depot in a pinch. Walmart has gotten creepy. Drugs in parking lot & store inside feels ominous after shootings. No thanks Is Walmart going to provide in-store support for the staff tasked with enforcing this rule?

Dying at Minimum Wage !! What a society we have ! Floridians are boycotting walmart for not understanding ones first amendment rights. They think they can be our big brother like their communist comrades in authoritarian hellscape China ccp. pathetic What a sentence. Shown worn incorrectly. Nice job

People with disabilities protest amid threats of police brutality, COVID-19 discriminationPeople with disabilities are protesting being deprioritized by health care workers amid coronavirus as well as being targeted by police brutality. And a BLACK woman was just arrested for murdering 7 Disabled and Elderly veterans in a WV care facility. 1 black junky dies of a drug induced heart attack after fight cops... RIOT! 7 White Veterans die at the hands of a Black Woman with clear malicious intent... Silence. To whom it may concern. Sir/madam, May I use this medium to inform you that we have for sales at a very attractive rate 500kgs of 22karat plus gold in stock and ready for monthly supply of between 50 and 100kgs. We currently wish to sell at $20,500. Per kg. and might reconsider

France to give $9 billion in pay raises to health care workersFrance will give health care workers across the nation $9 billion in pay raises in recognition of their work during the pandemic, the country's Prime Minister Jean Castex has said. Are you going to do the same BorisJohnson realDonaldTrump 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 Oh the things we could learn.

Walmart to Require Face Masks in All U.S. Stores Starting July 20Breaking: Walmart will require shoppers to wear masks in all U.S. stores, becoming the largest company to impose restrictions amid a surge in coronavirus cases they ll have to hier a lot of security because Karens incoming !! Queue the Cult 45 crying It's a good idea. It's all okay.

French Health Care Workers Given A Raise, Honored On Bastille DayAfter weeks of negotiations between the French government and unions, health care workers will get about $208 a month more in their paychecks. This year's Bastille Day celebrations are also being used to thank those on the front lines of the pandemic. Scraps. And yet a Catholic church got over a billion $. WTF are you doing America ? DefundNPR

Walmart could be the 'next tech stock' with Amazon competitor set to launch, says Morgan StanleyFor subscribers: Walmart could be the 'next tech stock' with Amazon competitor set to launch, says Morgan Stanley. Check out CNBCPro for a free trial.

Wolfgang Van Halen 'Prepared for a Wave of Hate' When He Releases Solo DebutWolfgang Van Halen is bracing for a 'wave of hate' when he releases his debut solo album, which has been delayed several times over the years People are so unnecessarily cruel to one another these daze Geezus wolfie, bout'time Let the wolf howl ! 🐺 🎸