‘Every Day Is Frightening’: Working For Walmart Amid Covid-19 Panic
In interviews with ABC News, Walmart executives who have dealt with mass layoffs, a supply shortage and shortages of medical equipment; who have been at some stores when the virus spread; who have worked with customers and their families who died or are struggling with the virus; who have gone on furloughs; who have been asked to work even when they wanted to stay home to recover; who have had to make life-and-death decisions about their patients, their families and their staff.
“At home, I’m on the phone with my children and I’m crying,” one pharmacist told ABC News. “They’re not allowed to bring their pets even.”
“I mean, it’s really hard. It’s a different side of life, you’re thinking about your children, but you can’t take care of yourself,” said another pharmacy technician in Los Angeles.
“This is not what we’re supposed to be doing,” said a technician in Arizona, who said she was considering leaving her job. “I’m supposed to be working.”
Walmart is responding to a public demand for the company to stop working, even when it would cause enormous harm to themselves and their customers.
In a recent New York Times Magazine piece, Walmart executives noted that one of their “common challenges,” is “how to respond to people who’ve lost faith in the company.”
Some have suggested in the past that the public should “suck it up,” “deal with it or leave,” “get a job” or simply “suck it up and deal with it.”
As Walmart CEO Doug McMκan puts it, “People need us to take the hit.”
Walmart says it has been following standard operating procedure in dealing with its workforce: reducing workers’ hours at stores they’ve been closing to the point that store closings are “no longer economically necessary or fiscally responsible.”
On March 25, a group of Walmart employees met with