From GimPy2434: Canadian Dr.'s reply to companies requiring medical note after sick day.
From GimPy2434: Canadian Dr.'s reply to companies requiring medical note after sick day.
When will folks learn that companies are stalking public Facebook pages...
From Mail Online:
Nordstrom has fired a sales associate who made a statement about killing police on his Facebook page.
Aaron Hodges, 37, of Portland, suggested killing a white officer for every black man killed by police. His comment quickly circulated online, prompting complaints both online and directly to his employer.
Nordstrom spokeswoman Tara Darrow said the department store chain does not tolerate violence, violent conversation or 'threats of any kind.'
'What our former employee chose to post from his personal account does not in any way reflect our views as a company,' said Darrow said. We do not tolerate violence, violent conversation or threats of any kind.'
The post in question, reports KGW, read:
'Every time an unarmed black man is killed, you kill a decorated white officer, on his doorstep in front of his family.'
Hodges, who is African-American, said Tuesday he's troubled by the police killings of Michael Brown in Missouri, Eric Garner in New York and Tamir Rice in Ohio, and he made the Facebook comment in an exchange with a friend from high school. Hodges said he sometimes says outrageous things to 'bring things into scope' and didn't literally mean that white officers should be killed.
'I'm a black Mormon, so there's no way I could be racist,' he said. 'I'm just passionate about black issues because nobody else seems to be.'
Hodges said a manager from the downtown Portland store called him Friday to say people were calling nonstop and he must remove references to his Nordstrom employment from his Facebook page.
The next day, Hodges said, a manager told him to stay away until Wednesday, because there had been a death threat.
'And then the store manager called me on Sunday and was like: 'We can't support you anymore Aaron. We got to let you go.'
Given the flood of complaints, Hodges said he understands why Nordstrom fired him, but he doesn't understand why someone took a screen shot of his Facebook comment and destroyed his livelihood.
From Mail Online:
Bowing her head in shame, a senior Korean Air executive whose 'nut rage' delayed a flight made a grovelling apology for exploding with rage after her snack was served in a bag.
Screaming Cho Hyun-ah, a senior vice-president at the airline, angrily demanded the removal of a crew member from a flight for failing to serve nuts in a bowl.
She then forced the Incheon-bound flight to taxi back to the terminal at New York's JFK Airport to kick the junior flight attendant off the plane.
Clad in a long black coat, with her head bowed in shame Cho told reporters in an almost inaudible, trembling voice that she was 'sorry' about the December 5 incident.
'I sincerely apologize.' she said, gloomy-faced, adding that she will 'apologize sincerely' at a meeting with the victimized crew member.
Adding to her humiliation, her father and airline chairman Cho Yang-ho called her behaviour 'foolish' and said that he regretted that he didn't raise her better.
He added that his eldest would resign from her executive roles at all affiliates of Hanjin, the group that controls Korean Air.
Flight 86 was already on the runway for its departure when Cho lost her temper after an unidentified worker placed some macadamia nuts in front of her as she sat in first class.
Furious that he had not followed protocol and presented them in a dish she screamed at the attendant and told him to bring out the company’s in-flight service manual so he could read the proper nut-handling guidelines.
When he failed to find it, Cho lost her cool and ordered him to get off the flight.
'The chief flight attendant failed to get the right manual, and this led Cho to believe he was not qualified for that job,' a Korean Air official told the Korean Times at the time
Without giving the 250 passengers on board a warning, the pilots decided to give in to her demands and return to the airport to drop off the attendant, delaying the flight by around 20 minutes.
Her entitled actions caused an uproar in her home country and abroad.
South Korean media called the 40-year-old a princess and while others branded her an embarrassment to her country.
Earlier this week, Cho resigned as Korean Air's head of cabin service but retained other executive roles at the airline and its affiliated companies.
In a separate probe, prosecutors searched the headquarters of Korean Air Lines on Thursday after a civil society group laid a complaint about Cho's behavior on the plane.
Korean Air Lines had earlier excused her behavior even as it apologized for inconveniencing passengers. It said it was 'natural' for Cho to fault crew's ignorance of procedures.
From Salon by Nick Rahaim:
After years of organizing in secret, building bonds over beer and supporting co-workers when issues have arisen with management, team members at a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco disrupted the normal workday and demanded a $5 an hour pay increase last month. More than 20 employees beckoned store management to the floor and presented a petition signed by more than 50 of the store’s workers calling for more paid time off, better health and retirement benefits as well as steady, consistent schedules.
I worked at Whole Foods in the spring of 2012. As is the typical way of getting to know co-workers, I went out for drinks with a tight-knit group of employees. Conversations went quickly from the getting-to-know-you banter to politics, and it was at the time the Occupy Movement was running out of steam. We exchanged battle stories of political engagement and mused about how best to carry the momentum from Occupy in new directions. I asked about organizing at Whole Foods; a few of my co-workers smirked while others played dumb. A week later I was brought into the fold, and found people had been organizing for more than two years. I was feisty for action, but the others knew better; they were in it for the long haul.
Since workers came out after plotting in the shadows for nearly five years, store managers have reportedly attempted to kill them with kindness, while saying nothing of their demands. On the corporate side, Whole Foods Market announced a pay increase in its San Francisco stores effective Jan. 1, shortly after the Whole Foods Union went public. The $1.25 increase in the starting wage, from $11.50 to $12.75, sits 50 cents above San Francisco increase in minimum wage that will take effect in May of 2015. Outside of that, both the store and corporate management have refused to publicly address the situation. Workers organizing at Whole Foods claim the announced wage increase four months ahead of schedule was likely in response to their demands.
In an attempt to put teeth to their demands workers held pickets at the Whole Foods Northern California Regional distribution center in Richmond, California. The picket fell short of stopping the flow of goods to the Bay Area stores it had envisioned, in the spirit of the Black Friday actions taken in 2013 by retail workers. Although the Teamsters did agree that their drivers would not cross the picket line. To that Ruan, the shipping company contracted by Whole Foods, hired temporary workers — scabs — to cross.
Organizing with the radical-syndicalist union, the Industrial Workers of the World, Whole Foods employees are shunning traditional unions that represent the majority of workers at Safeway, Alberson’s and other national grocers. In doing so, they have given up access to the deep pockets of United Grocery Workers and the like, but have the added agility to stealthily maneuver. The IWW is also the only union to have successfully created union shops at Starbucks.
“Organizing through the IWW gives us a lot of autonomy,” said Nick Theodosis, an organizer and beer and wine specialist at Whole Food SoMa. “All the decisions are made on the shop floor.”
It’s no secret that Whole Foods Market is hostile to unions. Its co-founder and co-CEO John Mackey has compared unions to herpes, and has insisted that his company is “beyond unions.” Whole Foods is the second-largest union-free retailer behind Wal-Mart, a company that does not hide its hostility to labor behind progressive rhetoric.
Nonetheless, Whole Foods Market has been listed on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For 17 years in a row. For 2014 the green giant was listed at 44, just beating out Goldman Sachs. While it’s no surprise, Fortune does not consider organized labor as a significant factor in its metrics.
My first day working at Whole Foods, Mackey and co-CEO Walter Robb were walking around the store shaking hands with employees. Mackey — to his credit — has turned the ratio between executive and worker pay upside-down, earning a token salary of $1 a year; unfortunately those executive savings don’t seem to be passed down. He was goofy, yet sociable, and after some chitchat about backpacking he let it slip to me that on the trail he goes by the name Strider, a confession that brought an embarrassed look to Robb’s face. The trail name is likely a “Lord of the Rings” reference to the humbly disguised Aragorn.
Having worked on fishing boats for a few years prior, I ended up on the seafood team with a starting wage $2 an hour more than the minimum. To my dismay, I realized I was making significantly more than my friend from Mexico who helped me get the job. He had been a consistent worker at Whole Foods for more than five years and hadn’t seen anything more than meager raises.
At Whole Foods various departments are called teams — for example, grocery, seafood, produce, and employees in those teams are called team members. Bosses and management? You won’t see those words; there are only team leaders. If these words had authenticity the “us versus them” dichotomy of normal labor discourse would be irrelevant. In fact, the company’s employee handbook specifically states “Us versus them thinking has no place in our company.” To counter this thinking Whole Foods states it attempts to cultivate an atmosphere of “happiness, joy and love,” and encourages “participation and involvement” in company policy.
While working at Whole Foods, the company actively sought out team member participation on how the company would restructure its benefits package. All team members attended a mandatory meeting on benefits. At the meeting the in-store human resources manager made it clear that Obamacare had resulted in higher health costs that had to be passed down to workers — ahem, team members. So the vote — non-binding, of course — was a vote on how workers would like their benefits cut.
During the meeting I pulled up a chart on the performance of Whole Foods’ stock on my iPhone and found it steadily climbing. The company’s stock price had increased more than 30 percent in the previous year and has continued to grow since — even though the company’s stock got pummeled earlier this year after it failed to meet growth expectations. I flashed the graph to an organizer sitting beside me who chuckled, then to the rest of the room, but there was no humor seen in it. They knew they were about to pay more so Whole Foods could tout its cost reductions to Wall Street.
This was, and still is, a clear sign of the times. At one of the country’s highest preforming companies, benefits continue to be eroded and wages stagnant at a time when the cost of living was steadily on the rise.
In fact, a public housing project a few blocks away from the SoMa store is known as the “Whole Foods Hotel,” in that more than a few team members live there. Even working full-time at one of the 100 best companies to work for, employees often rely on public housing and other forms of public assistance, shifting the burden to municipal coffers.
My time at Whole Foods was short. After three months of being a part-time team member while working full-time hours, with a schedule that made it very difficult to see my daughter regularly, I quit. As is often the case I didn’t have any grudges with the store management, I never felt abused or threatened. But I did suffer a very common indignity in the U.S. workforce: working 40 hours a week while still being chronically broke.
Many of the workers who now fear their jobs by standing up and making demands had been at Whole Foods for years. They support children and raise families with their unlivable wages. While retail is an industry with high turnover — for example, myself — it’s the livelihood of many. For a company that prides itself on promoting participation and involvement, it should respect and encourage the most direct form of participation a “team member” can engage in: organizing and demanding more from their highly profitable employer.
From NY Times:
Waves of demonstrations aimed at eliminating racial injustice have been sweeping through much of the United States just as the holiday shopping season has begun. And early numbers indicate that retail sales have been disappointing.
Both developments have attracted considerable attention. But for the most part, major media outlets have treated them as separate phenomena — like events taking place on two different continents — even though thousands of protesters declared explicitly that they were boycotting stores on Black Friday.
So, what about the obvious question: Have the protests contributed to the sales decline?
Vast quantities of data about American consumers are churned out daily, and you might expect that it would provide an answer. Businesses, investors, academics and policy makers rely on that data. The problem is that for illuminating answers, you need to ask the right questions.
Last Sunday, for example, the National Retail Federation, a trade association, released its annual survey of holiday shopping. As usual, it was heavily covered.
The federation announced that for the holiday weekend through Saturday, nationwide year-over-year sales had dropped 11 percent, a startlingly big number. The extensive survey data, along with anecdotal information compiled by the federation’s chief executive, Matthew R. Shay, suggested a variety of reasons for the sales decline. These included pre-Thanksgiving discounts by retail chains, ever-present cheap deals on the Internet and the still-shaky fiscal condition of many Americans who have not entirely recovered from the recession.
But when I listened to a recording of the conference call held by the federation with reporters on Sunday afternoon, I found that the conversation didn’t include a single word about the nationwide protests that closed some malls over the holiday weekend, obstructed traffic in big cities and flooded social media with appeals for Americans to stop shopping. Events like those weren’t examined by the survey. Protest wasn’t on the federation’s radar.
“That’s not an area we’ve ever gotten into,” said Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the federation, when I asked her about it last week. The federation has traditionally avoided touchy subjects, leaving it up to the retail chains in its membership to talk about them if they so choose. And last week, the big chains generally weren’t saying much about the boycott.
Macy’s, which was the target of a demonstration on Black Friday at its flagship store in Herald Square, declined to comment. Tara Darrow, a spokeswoman for Nordstrom, said that chain wouldn’t comment about its holiday sales, either. “In relation to the recent protests,” she said, “we have experienced some activity at a few of our stores across the country, but the impact has been really minimal.”
Perhaps the lack of solid data is why most mainstream news reports didn’t examine a possible link between the protests and flagging sales. These apparent omissions lit up Facebook and Twitter. For example, in a Twitter post on Wednesday, Shaun Abreu, a recent graduate of Columbia University, said: “The media is straight up downplaying the impact #BoycottBlackFriday had on the 11% decrease in sales. Let’s take it through Christmas then.”
I asked some of the boycott organizers how effective they thought they had been. They were able to provide detailed information about their roles in promoting the protests on social media but had no data about the effects of their efforts on retailers.
Rahiel Tesfamariam, the founder and publisher of the online magazine Urban Cusp, created the hashtag #NotOneDime on Twitter on Nov. 24, after a St. Louis County grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who this summer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed man in Ferguson, Mo. Her slogan has been repeated across the Internet.
“The power structure isn’t listening to us in the streets or in the courts, so we are going to have to do it with our buying power,” she said in an interview. With a new hashtag, #BlackDecember, she is calling for people to buy from black-owned businesses.
Separately, a Los Angeles-based network called the Blackout for Human Rights used the hashtag #BlackoutBlackFriday on Twitter in early November, according to Michael Latt, a spokesman for the group. The group decided to include a Black Friday boycott in its protests “because America speaks the language of money, and that’s something that everybody can understand,” Mr. Latt said. But he and Ms. Tesfamariam said that they had not tried to come up with any numbers that might prove they were having an economic impact.
“We think the impact is obvious,” Mr. Latt said. And, he said, protests and, perhaps, boycotts will continue. They are now focused on the decision on Wednesday of a Staten Island grand jury not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner, another unarmed black man, who died after being placed in a chokehold.
There’s no doubt that such protests can galvanize public opinion. But what effects are they having in this prime shopping season? This brings us back to the data. Early shopping numbers are notoriously unreliable, and the National Retail Federation’s 11 percent decline was only an estimate based on a survey of 4,631 people. It divided respondents by income level and age — but not by race — and asked them about their intended and actual purchases, both in bricks-and-mortar stores and online. On the basis of their answers, it extrapolated aggregate numbers for the entire American economy.
The questions in this year’s survey were decided on Nov. 17, Ms. Grannis said, before the grand jury decision in the Ferguson case. In any event, no questions about social unrest have ever been included in the survey. “It’s just an estimate,” she said. “It’s our best shot.”
Other data providers have come up with varying numbers, generally pointing to a decline in bricks-and-mortar sales, along with an increase in online sales, at the start of the shopping season.
For example, data provided by Applied Predictive Technologies, based on sales by national chains with annual revenue of at least $500 million, showed a 3.5 percent decline in same-store sales nationwide for the Thanksgiving weekend through Sunday. Among the top 25 metropolitan areas in the United States, the St. Louis region — perhaps the one most deeply affected by the trauma in Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb — had the second-worst performance, a 9 percent decline from the same period the previous year. Jonathan Marek, a senior vice president at the company, said he had no way of knowing what impact the demonstrations and the boycott might have had. “It’s logical to assume it all had an impact, maybe half a percent, something like that, but I don’t really know,” he said.
At this point, I don’t know either. But the question certainly seems worth asking.
Washington (AFP) - Fast-food workers and others in low-pay jobs on Thursday launched one-day strikes and protests across the United States demanding a $15 an hour minimum wage and union rights.
Organizers said workers at major chains like McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Taco Bell walked off their jobs in more than 190 cities, from Los Angeles and Phoenix to Chicago, New York and Washington.
For the first time since fast-food workers began walkouts two years ago, they were joined by workers from convenience stores and markets in 24 cities, the Fight for $15 campaign said in a statement.
Employees in low-wage jobs and labor unions supporting them are pushing to raise the minimum hourly wage to $15 -- about double the current federal minimum of $7.25.
Workers say they are fed up with pay that does not come close to keeping them out of poverty and the threat of retaliation from employers hostile to them joining or forming unions.
"Every day I look my kids in the face and they realize we live in poverty. They are the reason I fight," Terrence Wise, a 35-year-old father of three who is paid $9.30 an hour at Burger King in Kansas City, Missouri, said in the statement.
At 10 major airports, baggage handlers, skycaps, wheelchair attendants and aircraft cleaners were demonstrating in support of the strikers, the organizers said.
And home-care workers, which launched the Home Care Fight for $15 in September, were protesting in more than two dozen cities from coast to coast, according to the Fight for $15 campaign.
"Millions of working men and women across this country -- white, black and brown -- have stood up and stood out together, mounting their offense against extremism and inequality," said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, in a separate statement.
The SEIU provides organizational and financial support to the Fight for $15 campaign.
"The economy -- and our country -- are out of balance because so many people are trying to raise families on service-sector paychecks but are getting crushed as corporations use their power to push down the wage floor," Henry said.
- Push for 'living wage' -
The Fight for $15 movement has grown since a few hundred fast-food workers went on strike in New York in late November 2012 to push for a "living wage" of $15 an hour.
In August 2013, fast-food workers launched their first national day-long labor strike, in 60 cities, and their outcry has increasingly resonated in national politics.
"Fast-food workers deserve a livable wage to keep families out of poverty. When they fight, I'm proud to fight alongside them," said Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democratic senator, in a tweet.
President Barack Obama has faced stiff Republican opposition in his push for an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 to lift hundreds of thousands of people above the poverty line and reduce the widening income gap.
San Francisco and Seattle have adopted an local minimum wage standards of $15; the state of California raised its lowest pay rate by $1 to $9 an hour in July.
On Thursday, even McDonald's food-service workers under contract with the federal government went on strike at the restaurant in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington.
"At McDonald's we respect everyone's right to peacefully protest," the company said in a statement.
McDonald's said about 90 percent of its US restaurants are independently owned and operated by franchisees "who set wages according to job level and local and federal laws."
But not all employers play fair, a Labor Department study released Thursday highlighted. The study found "pervasive" minimum wage violations in California and New York, with more than 300,000 violations in each state monthly.
About 3.5 percent to 6.8 percent of jobs covered by federal or state law were not paid the required minimum wage, pushing roughly 7,500 families in each state below the poverty line, the report said.
From Huff Po:
WASHINGTON -- This coming Black Friday will mark six years since a worker died beneath a throng of shoppers at a Walmart on Long Island. Although federal regulators faulted the retail giant in the tragedy, Walmart still hasn’t been compelled to pay the modest $7,000 fine that was levied against it.
The case, Department of Labor v. Walmart Stores, has not moved forward since HuffPost reported on it a year ago -- on appeal with a federal review commission that handles workplace safety fines. As of this writing, the commission lists the status of the case as “pending review.”
The case was first referred to the commission three and a half years ago. A spokeswoman for the commission said it does not comment on the timeline for pending cases.
It’s common for employers to appeal whatever penalties the Labor Department’s safety inspectors issue against them, including when workers are killed on the job. But the case of 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour, who had worked at Walmart for only a week when he was asphyxiated beneath the Black Friday crowd, underscores just how long those appeals can drag on, even in cases where the fines are comparably small.
Brooke Buchanan, a Walmart spokeswoman, said the retailer has made significant changes in recent years to minimize the frenzy among shoppers and make for a safer atmosphere, including spreading out merchandise that's on special and staggering sales times.
"After this horrible incident that happened six years ago, we took major steps working with crowd experts, law enforcement and people who do this for a living to see and help set up our stores," Buchanan said.
As HuffPost previously reported, Walmart, which had net sales of $473 billion last fiscal year, probably isn’t disputing the penalty in order to save $7,000, the maximum amount the Occupational Safety and Health Administration can fine a company for serious violations. Indeed, the company has already spent millions of dollars in legal costs just to fight the case. For Walmart, more significant than the nominal fine itself would be the ramifications if the fine were upheld.
OSHA used what’s known as the general duty clause as the foundation for its fine against Walmart. The clause holds that employers have a basic responsibility to provide a workplace that’s “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to [their] employees.”
In essence, the agency argues that Walmart should have foreseen the dangers presented by a mass of excited shoppers waiting at the store’s doors. An administrative law judge agreed back in 2011, though Walmart appealed that decision to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, where cases often wait years for review.
OSHA regulations tend to be very specific, and the agency doesn’t often reach for the general duty clause because it isn’t so easy to prove what should be a “recognizable” hazard. Employers, unsurprisingly, often criticize citations using the general duty clause as too vague. That's what happened when OSHA cited a poultry processor recently for violating the clause and putting workers in danger of ergonomic hazards. Before that, OSHA hadn’t tried to wield the clause in such a case in more than a decade.
In the Black Friday case, Walmart would be more eager to defeat OSHA's arguments than to avoid the $7,000 penalty. The company has argued that the dangers on Black Friday could not have been predicted. If regulators ultimately succeed in their case, OSHA would theoretically have an easier time putting Walmart and other retailers on the hook for Black Friday disasters in the future.
In a deal to avoid prosecution, Walmart agreed to develop a new crowd control plan the year after Damour's death. For its part, OSHA has started issuing guidance each year on how stores can handle their sales events safely. The agency recently sent letters to the major retailers urging them to adopt their own plans ahead of Black Friday.
“Retail workers should not be put at risk,” David Michaels, the head of OSHA, said last week.
It would be amazing if this caught on around the nation.
From Huff Po:
Amid growing concern over erratic work schedules, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a first-of-its-kind law aimed at securing more stable hours for retail workers.
Dubbed "the retail workers bill of rights," the law, which passed the 11-member, all-Democratic board unanimously, requires the city's large chain retailers to post workers' schedules at least two weeks ahead of time. Workers will be owed supplemental pay if unexpected changes are made to their schedules, or if they're required to be "on call" and their shifts are suddenly canceled.
The law, championed by Supervisor David Chiu, also requires that the employers offer any extra hours they have to their current workforces, rather than bringing on more part-time or temporary workers.
Passed as a set of two bills -- the first sailed through last week, the second on Tuesday -- the law marks a significant victory for labor groups and other advocates for retail and low-wage workers.
At a time when minimum wage and sick leave proposals are proving extremely popular, backers of the San Francisco legislation hope similar measures will now pop up in other cities and perhaps even states. California and its cities often find themselves on the leading edge of progressive labor policies.
Ann O'Leary, head of the children and families program at Next Generation, a San Francisco nonprofit that pushed for the legislation, said the law was fashioned partly in response to retailers' use of on-call and just-in-time scheduling. Modern scheduling technology may help retailers cut costs and become more efficient, but it also makes workers' hours less reliable, she said.
"It's not the manager thinking about people's needs -- it's a computer looking at the data," O'Leary said. "In San Francisco there's a higher minimum wage, but some weeks you're getting 10 hours and others you're getting 25. It's very hard to figure out what you're doing in terms of family income."
O'Leary also said the legislation was meant to address recent economic trends. With the high unemployment rates of the recession and recovery, many more workers than usual found themselves underemployed, working part-time but wanting more hours. The number of these so-called "involuntary part-time" workers has gradually dropped as the economy has rebounded, but it's still far from from its pre-recession levels.
Although popular among city supervisors, the San Francisco measures were opposed by the city's chamber of commerce. As Politico reported, the lobby sent a letter to the board last week criticizing the crafting of the law as opaque.
"These ordinances were drafted in large part behind closed doors, with last minute changes that brought numerous other employers within the scope of the ordinances, without notice or outreach," the letter stated.
Backers of the legislation tried to make it more palatable to the San Francisco business community by carving out smaller employers. The law only applies to what city law considers "formula retail" companies, which are retail and food chains with 11 or more locations nationally. So while companies like Target and McDonald's will have to follow the law, the local corner store and mom-and-pop boutique will get a pass.
Despite the chamber's concerns, O'Leary said advocates didn't encounter much opposition to the proposal, probably because of how it was limited to larger companies.
"Since we moved from something that would cover the entire workforce to more formula retail chains, we haven't seen big resistance from the employer community," she said.
The coalition of groups supporting the law was hoping to raise standards in general at large chains, according to Michelle Lim, an organizer with the San Francisco office of Jobs with Justice, a non-union labor group focused on low-wage industries. Groups like Lim's have been instrumental in winning labor-friendly measures like San Francisco's through city councils as well as the ballot box.
"What a retail worker bill of rights could do is really lift the floor not just for retail workers but for chain businesses," said Lim. "It's also creating lot of opportunities for organizing."
From Huff Po:
A Chicago-based restaurant chain appears to have shifted into damage control this week following a report that one of its employees was fired after asking for time off in order to undergo surgery as part of his cancer treatment.
In an interview with NBC Chicago that first aired Saturday, 19-year-old Jonathan Larson, a delivery driver at Rosebud Restaurants’ location in Naperville, Illinois, claimed he was fired by his employer after he told the restaurant he would need to take six weeks off from his job for back surgery related to his diagnosis with cancer of the brain and spine.
“[My manager] said, ‘No, by that time I’ll already have another driver hired. Just leave, I have to make some phone calls,” Larson told NBC. “I’m really disappointed and saddened by it. It’s not something I can help.”
The story was shared widely and prompted a backlash, including many individuals leaving negative comments on Rosebud Restaurants’ Facebook page.
On Saturday, the restaurant chain posted a statement acknowledging the Larson report, stating “we want you to know that we’re listening and since learning of the incident have acted swiftly to better understand what transpired.” The restaurant also said it had spoken with Larson about the incident.
In a second statement posted Sunday, the restaurant indicated it had spoken with Larson’s family and confirmed that his job would be waiting for him after his surgery. In a comment posted in response to the statement, Larson confirmed he would be meeting with restaurant chain leadership and the manager who fired him “to try and resolve the situation.”
“Rosebud always strives to treat its employees and customers as family but, in this case, we did not live up to our own expectations,” the statement read. “Like so many, we have been inspired by Jon Larson's personal strength and perseverance in his battle to beat cancer. We hope Mr. Larson makes a full and speedy recovery and returns to his job with Rosebud soon.”
In a comment on the Facebook page of the Naperville restaurant on Sunday, Debbie Sitko, who identified herself as Larson’s mother, said she was initially “angry along with disappointment and sad for my son” but that she is “please[d] with the way Rosebud is handling the situation at this time.”
Larson and Sitko did not respond to requests for comment. Rosebud Restaurants declined to comment for this story, but stood by the statements the company made on its Facebook page.
Several laws protect employees from being fired under similar circumstances, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act; and the Illinois Human Rights Act. The Huffington Post has been unable to confirm specifics of Larson's situation that would have determined which law was most applicable.
Rosebud Restaurants operates 10 restaurants in and near Chicago. The company was sued last year by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for allegedly refusing to employ African-Americans in its restaurants on account of their race. Joseph Taylor, the company's former CEO, filed a separate lawsuit this year alleging that he was fired because he suggested "there may be some merit" to the EEOC lawsuit.
Not long after a Walmart manager in Midwest City, Okla., started a food donation campaign for her co-workers, Walmart heiress Alice Walton got an unexpected “gift” with a strong message from some other Walmart employees.
According to Consumerist, a massive food donation bin was chained outside Walton’s Park Avenue condo in Manhattan. The message on the side of the bin read:
Walmart owner Alice Walton: We don’t want charity. We want decent pay. Love, Walmart workers.
Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, is one of the richest people in the world.
“In Forbes’ latest list of billionaires, she ranked 10th, with a net worth of $38.8 billion, right behind her sister-in-law Christy (No. 8, with $41.3 billion) and brother Jim (No. 9, $40.2 billion), but ahead of older brother and Walmart chairman S. Robson Walton (No. 11, $38.7 billion),” Consumerist wrote.
In stark contrast to Walton’s ultra-wealthy status, some Walmart employees are just scraping by. ABC News said, “The average starting wage for Walmart’s sales associates is $8.81 per hour in urban markets, according to IBISWorld, which translates to annual pay of $15,576, based on 34 hours of full-time work a week.”
Walmart, the nation’s largest employer with more than 1.3 million workers, said its average pay for part-time and full-time workers, excluding managers, is $11.83 an hour, according to ABC.
This is not the first time an in-store food donation campaign to benefit Walmart employees has prompted criticism. A similar food drive at an Ohio Walmart in 2013 helped fuel critics’ argument that the retailer’s pay is too low.
Walmart will likely be in the headlines again later this week, as a number of protests are planned at 1,600 Walmart stores across the country on Black Friday. According to Consumerist, workers are protesting for higher wages and full-time hours.
Although I applaud Walmart employees for trying to help impoverished co-workers by organizing a food donation campaign, it seems obvious that if Walmart would bump up its notoriously low wages, more of its employees could be self-sufficient.
What do you think of the message delivered by the food donation bin outside Alice Walton’s residence? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.
Now, here’s a video Walmart workers might find useful. It’s about unusual ways to make extra money.