Grainger Demands Workers’ Rights During Pandemic
Grainger Demands Workers’ Rights During Pandemic
While the majority of businesses are shut down due to COVID-19, essential businesses remain open, including hardware stores like Grainger. Our shipping orders are through the roof, our pick-up orders continue to fly in (especially large orders from government institutions in response to COVID-19), we continue to assist customers face-to-face, many employees are being asked to work over time, part-time employees are being asked to work full-time, and stress levels are at an all time high—mentally and physically.
Historically, Grainger has always profited during a crisis, whether an environmental disaster, destruction stemming from human error, or, in the current moment, a global pandemic. By serving hospitals and other healthcare facilities, government agencies, first responders, grocery stores, food producers, etc., Grainger provides critical products and services. Such essential products and services, however, do not get delivered without workers—workers who take on extra work, and, more importantly, extra risk to their wellbeing.
This document is the product of a collective of Grainger employees seeking to serve all currently at-risk Grainger employees sharing similar conditions. We have no problem rolling-up our sleeves and working during this challenging time. In fact, we are extremely thankful to still have jobs and proud to serve our communities. BUT, we do have a problem with a reactive approach to a global pandemic from a company who preaches the proactive safety of workers and customers as their top priority. We do have a problem taking on extra work and extra risk without receiving vital support—for example, hazard pay, additional healthcare, intensified workplace safety procedures—from our bosses. We do have a problem not feeling safe in our work environments while ensuring the safety of others. Grainger can and should do better.
Every day we meet co-workers, customers, and business partners face-to-face, putting us at risk of exposure to and contraction of the novel coronavirus. We are upset it took Grainger so long to respond and change branch operations to curbside assistance when the government announced at the start of that work week (3/16) that due to the novel coronavirus gatherings of over 10 or more individuals should be avoided. Considering the amount of foot traffic we receive on a normal basis, and the increase of that foot traffic as more individuals came in during that period to look for masks, gloves, toilet paper, water and other high demand items, we are concerned that employees and customers might have been exposed.
Kroger, Target, Amazon and other companies have implemented a version of hazard pay and/or sick pay for their employees, but what these companies have offered their employees amounts to little more than a symbolic gesture, and we demand that our employer do more by taking meaningful action to support and protect us, the loyal employees without whom this company would stall and crash. A purely symbolic hazard pay is simply not enough, especially if any employee gets sick and cannot pay their medical expenses or, worse, dies because they continued coming to work in a time of added danger.
We, along with all essential workers, deserve protection and compensation adequate to the risk we accept by coming to work every day during this deadly global pandemic.
In light of all this, we, employees of Grainger, demand of the company the following:
1.Hazard pay in the form of overtime (time-and-a-half), including backpay for high-risk days already worked. Overtime exists because overtime work puts extra wear and tear on the human body and mind, increasing risk to the employee and their co-workers at work, and to the employee in commuting home. Given that the current situation exposes us to additional physical, mental, and emotional wear and tear at least commensurable to, if not exceeding, that of regular overtime conditions, we deserve to be appropriately compensated and protected.
2.Coverage of any and all additional healthcare costs not covered by an employees' chosen healthcare plan for any employee coming into a Grainger or Grainger customer facility during the pandemic that either contracts the virus or falls ill related to the stress caused by working during the pandemic.
3.Implement a policy and procedure to identify and isolate sick workers (for example, taking employees’ temperature each morning before their shift), who should be sent home and given as many paid sick days as needed for full recovery.
4.Provide any ill employee, for whatever reason, during this time of crisis, paid time off until they are healthy and able to return to work.
5.Immediate testing of any employee that falls ill with COVID-19 symptoms. Additionally, we demand Grainger test an entire work location, if an employee or an employee family member tests positive.
6.Take additional measures to protect workers who meet a criteria that puts them at increased risk during this pandemic, including individuals with pre-existing conditions, individuals 60+, and pregnant women.
7.Provide all team members with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and implement a safe and standardized process for serving customers through curbside assistance at branches. Proper training on PPE must also be provided.
Please sign and share this petition in support of essential workers at Grainger during this stressful time. We also want to show solidarity with any and all essential workers feeling the struggle right now, and to commend and encourage those of you who have fought, or will fight, for the support and protection all essential workers deserve at this moment.