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(10,221 posts)
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 02:05 PM Feb 2024

It's Not Just Wages. Retailers Are Mistreating Workers in a More Insidious Way.

The NYT has an article today on how major corporations are impoverishing workers, and it’s all legal. We need better worker protections.

“Most of my co-workers had been at the store for years, but almost all of them were, like me, part time. This meant that the store had no obligation to give us a stable number of hours or to adhere to a weekly minimum. Some weeks we’d be scheduled for as little as a single four-hour shift; other weeks we’d be asked to do overnights and work as many as 39 hours (never 40, presumably because the company didn’t want to come anywhere close to having to pay overtime).

The unpredictability of the hours made life difficult for my co-workers — as much as, if not more than, the low pay did. On receiving a paycheck for a good week’s work, when they’d worked 39 hours, should they use the money to pay down debt? Or should they hold on to it in case the following week they were scheduled for only four hours and didn’t have enough for food?”


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It's Not Just Wages. Retailers Are Mistreating Workers in a More Insidious Way. (Original Post) Lonestarblue Feb 2024 OP
My last retail environment was back in the 80s & union. CrispyQ Feb 2024 #1
They also schedule like that Bettie Feb 2024 #2
No benefits, either. NT Trueblue Texan Feb 20 #27
Well of course not Bettie Feb 20 #29
Unions are the answer dlk Feb 2024 #3
++ appalachiablue Feb 2024 #5
Yes! That's the sort of thing that lead to unions in the first place. patphil Feb 2024 #12
Yes. It has always been my contention to those who complain about unions is that it's companies who create them because Wonder Why Feb 2024 #18
At the moment, the Union of Retail EmployERS is unbeatable PTL_Mancuso Feb 2024 #17
YES BonnieJW Feb 20 #31
Our grandparents and parents knew the value of unions dlk Feb 20 #32
Plenty of Union workers voted for Reagan BlueNIndiana Feb 20 #33
Unfortunately, true dlk Feb 20 #34
Wonder if Rebl2 Feb 20 #35
Yes, Reagan was a SAG union member and even led them on a strike on 1960 dlk Feb 20 #36
Wow Rebl2 Feb 20 #37
This has been going on for a long time. Also, split shifts. Work 3 hours, off 3, work 4. SharonAnn Feb 2024 #4
I hated split shifts ArkansasDemocrat1 Feb 2024 #10
This is the American way! LittleGirl Feb 2024 #6
You can't have Medicare for All, they might raise taxes on the money we made by not giving you health insurance! ArkansasDemocrat1 Feb 2024 #13
Now that we Boomers are on our way out, the balance will shift back Warpy Feb 2024 #7
I worked at I. Magnin in San Francisco leftieNanner Feb 2024 #8
Oh, I've heard plenty of stories sakabatou Feb 2024 #9
I've lived some of these ArkansasDemocrat1 Feb 2024 #11
Holy... sakabatou Feb 2024 #14
Nope, one placed I worked had 25% (twenty-five percent) turnover monthly ArkansasDemocrat1 Feb 2024 #19
Shit. I wouldn't be surprised if it went bankrupt, or just skeleton crew sakabatou Feb 2024 #23
Nope, it's still there ArkansasDemocrat1 Feb 20 #38
They should just all not show up. And find a different job. LiberalFighter Feb 2024 #15
And, this is how you get it done! OldBaldy1701E Feb 20 #28
I've only had two retail jobs kimbutgar Feb 2024 #16
This is what happens I_UndergroundPanther Feb 2024 #20
Getting money out of politics is Step 1 dlk Feb 2024 #21
A couple of thoughts: snot Feb 2024 #22
My friend works for an airline central scrutinizer Feb 2024 #24
Do they think this is new? AwakeAtLast Feb 20 #25
Kick dalton99a Feb 20 #26
it's rampant in academia too et tu Feb 20 #30


(36,605 posts)
1. My last retail environment was back in the 80s & union.
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 02:24 PM
Feb 2024

Even part timers were guaranteed X number of hours a week which was the number you needed to get benefits, so everyone got benefits.

If your current shift started less than 8 hours after your previous shift, you got paid OT (1.5 times your hourly) until you hit the 8 hour mark.

If you worked more than 8 hours a day, OT was paid to the end of your shift.

Sundays paid 1.5 times your hourly & holidays paid 2 times. Full time employees got 8 hours holiday pay, so if they also worked the holiday they made triple time. Part time employees got holiday pay, too, just not as many hours, so they could get some triple time too.

Unions started out really good but like a lot of things they got management heavy & many were corrupt. But I'm still all in for unions. Management didn't give these things to labor willingly.


(16,155 posts)
2. They also schedule like that
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 02:29 PM
Feb 2024

so that their workers can't really have a second job, because two low paying jobs with no actual schedule is nigh impossible.


(11,615 posts)
3. Unions are the answer
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 02:53 PM
Feb 2024

It's silly to depend on corporation to treat workers fairly out of the goodness of their hearts. They exist to maximize profits first, last and always.


(6,273 posts)
12. Yes! That's the sort of thing that lead to unions in the first place.
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 03:43 PM
Feb 2024

Lack of respect for workers will bring about a resurgence in unions.

Wonder Why

(3,395 posts)
18. Yes. It has always been my contention to those who complain about unions is that it's companies who create them because
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 04:19 PM
Feb 2024

of how they treat workers. When workers are treated well, there is no reason for them to worry about their job, their pay, their benefits, their safety, their chances of keeping their job or their family. They don't need a union to protect them.

We have regressed in this country to mega-corps and mega-naires who care nothing about their customers or workers but how well they look today in the stock market. We need unions as much now as we did in the end of the 19th century with their big trusts and mega-naires of the day.



(276 posts)
17. At the moment, the Union of Retail EmployERS is unbeatable
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 04:18 PM
Feb 2024

It's in the Laws! And, absent repeal of Citizens United (and its relatives), that union will continue to play both sides of the aisle to ensure that any kind of critical mass that might tilt the balance back toward us will never be attained. We will see "feel-good" legislation offered up only to watch it get repeatedly batted down like a weak tennis serve, and listen to the "Oh well, we tried" refrain from our so-called "representatives".


(2,282 posts)
31. YES
Tue Feb 20, 2024, 10:27 AM
Feb 20

My grandparents immigrated here from Russia in the 1890s. They worked in sweatshops in Chicago. The only thing the manufacturer gave them was the work. They had to bring their own sewing machines and in the winter if they didn't want to freeze, each worker brought in a bucket of coal. It was piece work and everyone brought work home and worked into the night. When the unions came, my grandparents couldn't join fast enough.


(11,615 posts)
32. Our grandparents and parents knew the value of unions
Tue Feb 20, 2024, 11:47 AM
Feb 20

Unfortunately, Ronald Reagan's union-busting tactics did long lasting damage to workers. Thankfully, more and more workers are now starting to realize, once again, unions offer tremendous benefits.



(94 posts)
33. Plenty of Union workers voted for Reagan
Tue Feb 20, 2024, 11:59 AM
Feb 20

Once some union workers started feeling like they were "somebody" for lack of a better term started bitching about taxes and other usual stuff.

Plenty of Union workers will vote for Trump for the 3rd!

God D*** Time!


(11,615 posts)
34. Unfortunately, true
Tue Feb 20, 2024, 12:07 PM
Feb 20

Republicans successfully tapped into voters' fears and hate, and conned them into voting against their own economic best interests; and they're still at it.


(13,638 posts)
35. Wonder if
Tue Feb 20, 2024, 12:15 PM
Feb 20

he was in union as an actor. Many union members vote republican. In other words, against their own interests.


(11,615 posts)
36. Yes, Reagan was a SAG union member and even led them on a strike on 1960
Tue Feb 20, 2024, 12:20 PM
Feb 20

Hypocrisy doesn't even begin to describe it.


(1,329 posts)
10. I hated split shifts
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 03:37 PM
Feb 2024

Why should I double my commuting costs and not be able to enjoy the rest of my day. Split shifts should be illegal unless you are paid OT for the second shift. You should only have to clock in once a day because the split shift is a scheduling problem THEY created for themselves with no downsides for them.


(8,292 posts)
6. This is the American way!
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 03:27 PM
Feb 2024

I came of age in the 70s and this has always been the case. It's legal and the retailers know it. They like it this way.
They don't have to provide benefits like sick pay, sick leave, healthcare coverage or vacation time.
This is the American Way.
This is Capitalism on drugs against the working stiffs that make their profits.

Sorry, don't mean to shout but this is criminal behavior by our corporations.


(1,329 posts)
13. You can't have Medicare for All, they might raise taxes on the money we made by not giving you health insurance!
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 03:44 PM
Feb 2024


(111,523 posts)
7. Now that we Boomers are on our way out, the balance will shift back
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 03:27 PM
Feb 2024

because they're not going to have those long lines of job applicants desperate for anything they can get.

It's demographics and that's on the side of younger workers, especially Gen Z.

Unions will hep it happen much faster.


(15,214 posts)
8. I worked at I. Magnin in San Francisco
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 03:33 PM
Feb 2024

In the 80s. Gourmet food department. Had a wonderful manager and a regular schedule. She was promoted and they brought in a toxic dude. He deliberately messed with our schedules. And when the store decided to be open until 11 pm for the month of December, most departments gave everyone one late shift per week. Because I had butted heads with him, he scheduled me the late shift for the entire week before Xmas.

He didn't last very long.


(42,229 posts)
9. Oh, I've heard plenty of stories
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 03:37 PM
Feb 2024

"Oh, you're sick? If you're not covered by someone, too bad!"

""Oh, you're sick? If you don't have doctor's note, too bad!"

"Oh, you're in the hospital? If you're not covered by someone, too bad!"

"Oh, you're being called into military service? Fuck that, we don't care! Get in."

"Oh, you're on vacation? Too bad, I'm cutting it short. And if you come in late, I'm docking your pay, or firing you!"

"Oh, you scheduled a vacation months ago, and you have tickets to go to [insert location]? I'm cancelling it! No I don't care how much it'll cost you!"

"Wait, you left the company? Well, we have you scheduled to come in. WHY AREN'T YOU COMING IN?!"

And many, many more.


(1,329 posts)
19. Nope, one placed I worked had 25% (twenty-five percent) turnover monthly
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 04:29 PM
Feb 2024

After a few months, I stopped trying to remember names of the new workers. Lots of splits and 12 hour shifts followed by an 8 hour shift - and me with a 45 minute drive each way - then when they realized you were approaching 40 would tell you to go home before your shift was over as not pay OT. One day I swapped shifts with someone, and then they got fired for...reasons, so I had to work THEIR shift after mine (we can't find anyone to come in, sorry) and then my next scheduled shift just 8 hours later.

I quit the next day.


(1,329 posts)
38. Nope, it's still there
Tue Feb 20, 2024, 12:43 PM
Feb 20

The turnover and perpetual understaffing was before Covid. They were always close to or being in violation of Oregon's minimum ALF staffing requirements. Residents in that Assisted Living Facility I worked at were paying $4,000+ a month for us, $6,000 for a couple with billing Medicare or other insurance also. Those were before Covid prices too. There were usually 60 or so residents. 60x 4,000=$240,000 a month.

That bad night before I quit. I was the only resident assistant for 60 people, we had a Medical Assistant and that was it. For 60 people. If someone had fallen or died, the company wouldn't have taken the blame for it, they would have blamed me and hung me out to dry with any violations due to not being able to keep up. "We can't find anyone to come in and help you". That was too much responsibility for $9.25 an hour.


(5,249 posts)
28. And, this is how you get it done!
Tue Feb 20, 2024, 09:02 AM
Feb 20

It is the only way to get their attention. The ONLY way. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can get them to the table. Yes, it means some hardship. But, if you want this mess to change, you have to have the numbers. If everyone does not participate, you are accomplishing nothing. If they can hire anyone off the street to do your job, you have to make sure they have no one to hire.

Besides, all this is moot. Once these corporations go fully automated, they will just chuck us out the door and laugh. Of course, once their removal of employment starts to impact the population, they will discover that there is no one to buy their crap. Let's hope we don't get to that point before reason takes over, but I am not hopeful in the slightest.


(21,313 posts)
16. I've only had two retail jobs
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 04:11 PM
Feb 2024

One as a gift wrapper in my senior year in high school at a high end men’s store. And the other my freshman year in college at Toys r us at Christmas. I swore never to work a retail store after those experiences. I feel sorry for people that work retail and always try to smile and thank them after i make a purchase.


(12,518 posts)
20. This is what happens
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 05:21 PM
Feb 2024

When greed goes unchecked.
Capitalism has no mechanism for curtailing greed. As long as the greedy can exploit labor we all suffer. Capitalism is a failure.In fact I think it was a stupid idea.Stupid like slavery is stupid.


(11,615 posts)
21. Getting money out of politics is Step 1
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 05:34 PM
Feb 2024

Meaningful legislation, including the tax code, can curtail many of the worst abuses Unions, of course, can counter them as well. It’s not all black and white, and there is much that can be done to rein in corporate abuses.


(10,549 posts)
22. A couple of thoughts:
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 06:02 PM
Feb 2024

1. We need a law that says companies can split the work into as many jobs as they like, but they have to pay benefits proportionately. E.g., if they split one job into 3 part-time jobs, they have to pay each of the 3 workers 1/3 of the benefits they'd have had to pay 1 full-time worker. Ideally, we could structure benefits as well as employment systems to be benefits-per-hour-worked rather than benefits-per-employee.

2. Scale is key to corruption and abuse, regardless of the type of organization. Whether it's a government, religion, corporation, or union, once it reaches a certain size, there's often much bigger amounts of $ available for skimming, less transparency between those at the top and those at the bottom, and the organization becomes a target for hijacking sociopaths.

Obviously, some functions are much more efficiently dealt with on a larger scale; the closest thing to a solution I know of is lots of power reserved to the lower, federated levels, lots of checks and balances, and lots of strong democratic principles built into the system; but I also think it would make sense to simply break up organizations that get too large.

I know this all sounds like pie in the sky, but

"A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias."

– Oscar Wilde (1997). Collected Works of Oscar Wilde: The Plays, the Poems, the Stories and the Essays Including De Profundis, p. 1051, Wordsworth Editions.

central scrutinizer

(11,675 posts)
24. My friend works for an airline
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 09:05 PM
Feb 2024

On the ground crew. She works one three hour shift, has two unpaid hours off (no flight coming in), then a second three hour shift. It’s not like the airport is close to anything so it amounts to an eight hour shift on six hours pay. Unpaid two hour lunch break.

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