This System Doesn’t Work For Us

By Maria

I currently work for a high-end department store, filling online orders. I don’t have a car, so I have about a two hour commute on two buses. I get to work at 7:00 a.m., three hours before the store opens. My job is to find the items ordered online, and to ship them out.

After two years of working there I have finally qualified for a retirement and dental plan, yet I might have to reject the retirement plan because I do not earn enough, and too much money would be taken out of my paycheck.

Even though they offer a health insurance plan, it is too expensive and the company is not willing to offer a plan that is affordable to its employees.

After taking more responsibilities I asked my supervisor for a raise, telling him I was only earning $10 per hour. As I told him this he acted as though he did not believe that I earn that little.

He “promised” to ask the people on top to give me a raise.

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My First Time Feeling Discrimination

By Matt Allen G.

I have never felt discriminated against in my life, not for anything: race, religious beliefs, nor disability.

Not until yesterday at my equal opportunity employer. When I was first interviewed at this retail location (that I have always loved and was excited to work at) I disclosed my Multiple Sclerosis limitations right off the bat. My disclosure was met with the assurance that everything would be done to make sure that my limitations would be properly accommodated. I was happy.

Things were great for the first week or so. I was hired to cover the electronics department and I was told that sometimes I would have to venture into other areas of the store. I didn’t mind that; a small department working on things I was knowledgeable with, low temperatures, probably low stress, and little physical work. Just what I needed.

After a week or two though, I started noticing subtle changes in the way people talked to me as well as what they expected of me. Soon I was in charge of electronics and toys and then infants and then seasonal and then I was running around all the departments of the store while trying to cover electronics. There was much more physical work and I was now breaking a sweat. I started noticing my schedule saying that I was working the floor instead of electronics. It was like they noticed I was more reliable than others to get things done so they threw them in electronics and had me doing the tougher stuff. I didn’t complain because I was happy to have a job and I don’t like to say “I can’t”.

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A Work in Progress

By Alyson McHargue

I started my new job this past week at a home accessories store here in LA.

Now, for you to fully understand the weight of that statement, you need to understand I’ve been job searching for a good 6 months fulltime here in Los Angeles. Prior to that I did four internships within the film industry which I had hoped would turn into full time jobs. Guess what? They didn’t.

Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough. Maybe I was scared to sell my soul to the industry at such a young age. OR maybe the film industry just loves to hire interns and ONLY interns. Who doesn’t love free labor?

Whatever the reason, I decided to stay in Los Angeles after my year long program was done to try and “make it”- whatever that means.

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How About a Fair Wage for Retail Workers

By Brandy Staples
I’ve worked retail jobs at big box stores on and off for many years. At these kinds of jobs, you need to be trained in several areas so that you can be pulled from what you are doing and told to do something else at any point. Retail work does not pay you for your expertise and knowledge; you must know how to do everything in your store at one low wage.
Every morning, at any retail establishment that I’ve worked, you will have a morning meeting to go over any store issues, the day’s finances and any promotions coming up. In this meeting be prepared to have everything be your fault. It’s your fault that the numbers weren’t met the day or the week before. It’s your fault that the customer refused add-on purchases. It’s your fault when the store is short-staffed and a customer steals $10,000 worth of merchandise (because there was no staff coverage for that area of the store). More than once, I’ve seen “offenses” like these be used to cut workers’ hours or strip down their job titles.

My biggest pet peeve about working in any retail establishment is the fact that minimum wage workers are the ones that are keeping their company afloat, while the big CEOs sit around and collect profits. The minimum wage workers, who are keeping the company alive, are not valued for their hard work. They are treated as a dime a dozen, usually get little-to-no recognition, and rarely get any benefits. This needs to stop.

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Jennifer Blankenship, 39

Posted: 02/20/2014 7:30 am EST Updated: 02/20/2014 8:59 am EST

Jennifer Blankenship, 39, lives in Clarksville, Tenn., and lost her retail position in the fall. Just hired for a new job working from home, she hopes to finish her college degree in the next three years.

From the Huffington Post. By Aliel Edwards-Levy.

My husband and I thought we’d both work retail jobs while I finished my degree. Then I would be the primary breadwinner while my husband went to school. I was closer to finishing my degree, so it made sense. But then life happened.

I worked for an electronics store. I enjoy retail, and I actually loved working there. I was the appliance specialist — I was the go-to person for any trouble they had with appliance orders or anything. I really became their expert.

I ended up having to quit school because it just wasn’t feasible to work full time and go to school, not with young children involved. I don’t think it was necessarily a conscious decision to quit. It just basically boiled down to, “Do we want to eat, or do we want me to finish my degree?” It’s been seven years since I’ve actively been taking classes.

I lost my job in November because of a medical condition called spinal stenosis. It got to the point where I’d have to call out of work and take leave because I was unable to work. Continue reading

Verizon Store Workers in NY Favor Union

Communication Workers Union, May 14, 2014

New York –Today, retail store workers at six Verizon Wireless stores in Brooklyn, N.Y., voted for a union voice and representation by the Communications Workers of America.

This vote is a huge victory for these workers and for thousands more across Verizon Wireless who want representation to address their issues on the job. For more than a decade, Verizon has done everything possible to prevent Wireless workers from joining 40,000 Verizon Communications workers and 80 Verizon Wireless technicians who have union representation.

Today’s vote begins to break down that barrier and ensures representation to these retail stores workers. They also join more than 40,000 workers at AT&T Mobility who have organized without fear at their company for nearly two decades. Continue reading