Scheduling at Walmart is Bad, Not Having Paid Sick Days is Worse

By Venanzi Luna

Walmart Associates like me come in constant contact with the public at work, yet many of us lack proper health care coverage to keep us from getting sick. I recently spoke out about Walmart’s health care rollbacks in a video.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, we don’t have paid sick days so we can stay home and not infect others. Often times, Associates have to choose between calling in sick or face consequences that affect our livelihood. And since Associates are required to have “open availability” – which in a 24 hour supercenter means being available to work any time 24 hours a day, seven days a week – it’s difficult to work a consistent schedule that allows us to take care of our families when they are well, much less when they are sick.

Although Walmart allows us to accrue paid sick time, it also makes it nearly impossible for Associates to access those days because of the way the policy is written. As written, Walmart’s policies allow us to be “coached” (written up) because all absences, including sick days, are counted as grounds for discipline up to termination. Fear and the threat of discipline prevents thousands of Associates from taking care of themselves and/or their family members.

It’s for these reasons and more that thousands of Walmart Associates in more than 30 states, including California, are joining together as members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart, or OUR Walmart. We believe that by working together we can change Walmart from within, making it a better employer and a better neighbor to the communities where it operates. You can read our entire Declaration of Respect on our website at ForRespect.org.

While OUR Walmart is made up entirely of current and former hourly Associates, we wouldn’t be where we are today without our community allies. If you’re not an Associate but would like to show your support for those of us who work at Walmart, you should visit ChangeWalmart.org and sign-up for the Making Change at Walmart email updates. Together, we can change Walmart and change America.

Because 73% of Californians believe everyone should have paid sick leave, yet almost 6 million Californian workers, including Walmart Associates like me, either lack paid sick time or access to it, our elected leaders in Sacramento are considering AB 400. This is a bill which would require all employers to provide paid sick leave for their employees. Please send a letter asking your state representative to support the bill today. You can view a sample letter here.

Venanzi Luna has worked at the Pico Rivera, California Walmart for more than four years.

Learn more about the OUR Walmart and Making Change campaigns.

 

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