United for Respect to Announce ‘Five to Survive’ Pandemic Platform, as Unprecedented Covid-19 Wave Crashes into Holiday Shopping Season
NATIONWIDE — On a press call Monday, essential workers at Amazon, Walmart and Petco will introduce a new ‘Five to Survive’ pandemic platform, which comes as a busy holiday shopping season coincides with an unprecedented surge in Covid-19 infections and deaths.
On the heels of the United States hitting a grim milestone of 250,000 dead, essential workers are at even greater risk due to the impending holiday rush. Nine months into the public health pandemic, the wealthiest corporations and largest employers have continued business-as-usual, raking in profits while leaving employees without additional pay or protections for their work on the frontlines.
A new report from United for Respect and its partners, Institute for Policy Studies and Bargaining for Common Good, found that the total wealth of America’s billionaires rose by more than $1 trillion under the COVID-19 pandemic, as essential workers went underpaid, unsupported and forced to risk their health at corporations owned or operated by the wealthiest in the world.
WHAT: Zoom press call to announce ‘Five to Survive’ pandemic platform; employees will also give first-hand accounts from the front lines of this pandemic holiday shopping season.
WHO: Essential workers at Amazon, Walmart, PetCo
WHEN: Monday, November 23 — 12PM ET / 9AM PT
WHERE: RSVP for Zoom link by replying to this email OR email [email protected]
Through the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, United for Respect’s member-leaders have been campaigning for expanded protections and pay to keep employees and customers safe:
- Associates at Walmart have been filling in where Walmart’s leadership has failed, sharing information about positive cases and safety issues themselves on a worker-sourced COVID-19 tracker and growing calls for hazard pay and a role in decision-making on the company’s board of directors.
- Amazon workers have been sounding the alarm throughout the pandemic about the lack of safety measures being taken in their warehouses, tracked thousands of positive cases at Amazon facilities and are signing onto a petition calling on the company to end dangerous “Time off Task” policies.
- Workers at the leading pet care brands — Petco and PetSmart — have been fighting for greater protections in their workplace, contrasting their poverty wages with the immense wealth and resources of the private equity firms that own these stores. United for Respect member-leaders have sent letters to CVC Partners (owner of PetCo) and BC Partners (owner of PetSmart) demanding these private equity firms prioritize workers’ health and safety and minimize the economic hardship on employees and their families.
- Art Van Furniture was bankrupted by private equity giant T. H. Lee in March, which sped along its liquidation as the pandemic grew, leaving former workers without healthcare. UFR members fought for a hardship fund this summer and in the fall, sent a letter demanding T.H. Lee pay back money they contributed to their own flexible spending accounts that was lost in the chain’s liquidation.
- Shopko workers won a $3 million settlement in October for 4,000 former Shopko workers who had been promised severance nearly 18 months earlier.