METERMillions of Americans flock to the stores and malls of the US on Black Friday in an annual spree of massive purchases that has become almost as traditional as the Thanksgiving dinner that precedes it.
But as throngs of shoppers kick off the holiday season of consumerism, there’s a huge impact on retail and delivery workers who are busier than ever and face workplace pressures that can harm their health and safety.
At Walmart, the largest retailer In the US, John Freeman, a Walmart associate in Dillon, South Carolina, for more than four years, explained that every year from Thanksgiving to Christmas, things start to get worse for workers. . Their workloads increase significantly, management and customer attitudes worsen, and work scheduling becomes more rigid as workers are forced to prepare for sales events, an influx of customers, maintain shelves stocked and clean.
“The workloads are exhausting. You have all this stuff that has to come out and it’s been building up. We don’t have a lot of people in the store where I work and we’re doing five jobs at a time, handling records, cleaning for maintenance, working freight, stocking the shelves, it’s a lot this time of year,” Freeman said. “We just It has been one roller coaster after another and it affects not only us physically but also our state of mind because we are being abused by customers and management.”
Freeman noted that Walmart associates do not receive any vacation pay and finished Quarterly bonuses from MyShare last year, and their only benefit was an additional 15% one-time employee discount for working on Black Friday.
“I just realized while on vacation in walmartIt doesn’t matter, it’s about what everyone wants,” he added. “They need to be a little more considerate of their employees and what they’re going through, not just make us feel like we’re on a circuit and we’re there to jump through hoops. Without us to stock your shelves, help your customers, or keep your store running, Walmart wouldn’t exist.”
According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation in September 2022, 45% of holiday shoppers say they are likely to shop on Black Friday this year. Holiday Retail Sales Forecasts Project increases 6-8% in sales compared to 2021, as holiday retail sales have grown steadily every year since the 2008 economic downturn.
On Amazon, the US largest online retailerwarehouse workers go to the company the high seasonduring which workers are expected to work mandatory overtime to handle the boom in online ordering during the holidays initiated by black Friday Y cyber monday sales.
daniel olayiwolaAn Amazon picker in San Antonio, Texas, for five years and a leading member of the nonprofit worker advocacy group United for Respect, said mandatory overtime during peak season exacerbates the problems workers have with productivity quotas and fears of layoff if they don’t. Not having enough accrued unpaid time off to be able to take time off or decline mandatory overtime shifts.
Even after five years, olayiwola he said he still experiences the fear induced by reporting and the constant risk of being fired.
“They’ll schedule you an extra day and an extra hour every day, so instead of working 40 hours a week, you could be working 55 or 60 hours a week and have no choice. People don’t realize they’re stuck in a situation until they realize it’s the end of the year, they don’t have unpaid time off, and they have an emergency and they really have to leave work, but if they leave work, they’re going to to lose their job and it is very sad,” Olayiwola said.
He added: “The way they beat you up and the way they have you constantly looking over your shoulder because of the fees, the amount of downtime you have to go to the bathroom, time off from chores, it has people stressed. and people are really just trying to hold a job during the pandemic and the inflation situation that we have.”
During the holidays, Amazon hires thousands of temporary workers, with 150,000 temporary employees hired by the company for the 2022 holidays. Olayiwola argued that the influx of seasonal workers contributes to the hectic atmosphere during peak season, as many of them are inexperienced or undertrained.
“They give you a lot of this fake hype and fake enthusiasm in the peak season, when that’s not the case at all,” he added. “People who work at Amazon in peak season are not having a good time. It is very difficult for you to keep adding extra days and hours to people’s schedules, without any option to come or not come. They are literally throwing us pizza parties, like we are in grade school.”