Last week, worker leaders with United for Respect spoke out, announcing updates to their Five to Survive pandemic platform: they called for essential workers to be given priority access to the vaccine, and a $500 incentive from retail employers to get vaccinated. In response, Petco – a company valued at nearly $8 billion – announced a $75 stipend for all employees who get vaccinated. United for Respect member and Petco employee T.J. Daniels issued the following statement:

“Petco is finally feeling the heat to address the crisis for their retail employees, because workers are stepping up to say that we are essential and we deserve better. Our wages are among the lowest in retail. This lowball vaccine incentive is a step in the right direction from Petco, and as someone who lives paycheck to paycheck, it will help me make rent. But actually getting the vaccine is months away right now. An eventual $75 bonus is a fraction of what we need to survive the pandemic and a pittance compared to the enormous profits that workers like me have earned for the company’s executives, shareholders and private equity owners on Wall Street during the pandemic’s pet boom. Taking care of animals and their humans is my passion, but all through this pandemic, I’ve barely been able to make ends meet while risking Covid-19 on the job every day. We needed $5/hr hazard pay months ago, we needed N-95 masks and enforced safety standards months ago, and they still have not responded to those needs. I want to see more meaningful steps to acknowledge our sacrifice — to start, adoption of the Five to Survive platform.”