Reported in the Labor Tribune.
With holiday shopping fully underway, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union wants shoppers to be kind to often-stressed retail workers.
In a series of tweets posted on the union website, but meant for the general public, the union explains that the problems customers will encounter between now and the end of the year are not the fault of the stores’ workers, either union or non-union.
Instead, RWDSU tweeted, they’re due to a combination of supply bottlenecks and bosses’ decisions to stick with just-in-time ordering rather than lay in merchandise in advance.
Rail union leaders, convened last month by the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department, made the same point. They explained that freight rail bosses, whose trains transport some 30-40 percent of merchandise inside the U.S., have been deliberately short-staffing since 2014 by company job cuts in pursuit of higher profits Wall Street demands.
PRESSURE FOR RETAIL WORKERS
“As retailers start their holiday shopping sales earlier than ever this year, the stress and pressure for retail workers during the season is being extended by additional weeks,” RWDSU tweeted. “At the same time, incidents of harassment, violence and hate are continuing to rise in stores, causing workers to worry about their physical safety and mental health.
“The supply chain is still precarious,” the union continued. “Retail workers bear the brunt of shoppers’ frustration. Tempers quickly rise when customers hear that coveted holiday items are stuck in transit and have been back ordered for months, and especially if they’ve gone to multiple stores only to go home empty-handed.
“Workers are not to blame, and stores should provide security, safety protocols and training to handle irate shoppers this season as well as safe staffing levels to meet the longer demand period. And shoppers need to remember what this season is supposed to be all about – love, generosity and kindness. Shoppers need to treat workers with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
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