NATIONWIDE — Last month, 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, PetSmart — which is owned by private equity giant BC Partners, with over $40 billion of assets under management — sent a letter to their employees announcing they will give $100 to employees who receive the COVID-19 vaccination. United for Respect member and PetSmart employee Oscar is a PetSmart Care Associate, living in Casa Grande, Arizona, and issued the following statement:
“Workers at PetSmart are stepping up to say that we are essential and we deserve better, and this $5.5 million for workers is what happens when we stand together and speak out for change. PetSmart is finally feeling the heat to address the crisis for their retail employees, because our wages are among the lowest in retail. This $100 vaccine incentive is a step in the right direction from PetSmart, but an eventual $100 is a fraction of what we need to survive the pandemic. PetSmart’s vaccine bonus is a tiny drop in the bucket, compared to the enormous profits that workers like me have earned for the company and its private equity owners, BC Partners, as the pandemic has triggered a boom in pet adoptions. I still don’t know when I’ll be able to actually get the vaccine, and that’s why $5/hour hazard pay right now is so important. I love taking care of animals, but all through this pandemic, I’ve barely been able to make my student loan payments while risking Covid-19 on the job every day for $12.25 an hour. We needed $5/hour hazard pay months ago, we needed N-95 masks and enforced safety standards months ago, and they still have not responded to those urgent priorities. We need PetSmart to get serious about adoption of the Five to Survive platform.”
About United For Respect:
United for Respect (UFR) is a national non-profit organization. UFR is a multiracial movement of working people throughout the U.S. advancing a vision of an economy where our work is respected and our humanity recognized. UFR is not a labor union and does not intend or seek to represent retail employees over terms and conditions of employment or to bargain with retail employers.