Since the COVID19 pandemic began Target workers have been living in fear as high risk essential workers. On March 13th Target CEO Brian Cornell and Trump appeared together for his first press conference to declare the COVID19 pandemic as a national emergency while assuring Americans that our stores will remain open.
Both Trump and Cornell have pressed upon the general public and Target workers that we’ll be taken care of while lauding each other’s half measures to ensure our safety and compensation. But we know the reality of the situation is far worse than what either of these two corporate shills are telling us. This is why we’re sharing direct accounts of Target team members being exposed to COVID19 and the efforts by Target corporation and management to deny us the benefits they claim to offer as they threaten team members for taking direct action to protect ourselves for wearing personal protection equipment (PPE), which the company thinks is unnecessary despite what the CDC says.
“they say he’s presumptive positive“
I was working up front, which means Cashiering, Self Checkout, and at the Guest Service desk as well as helping out with various tasks in that area. Most of the time I was on a register. I wore a mask to work the week before because I had been sneezing recently and although I thought it was allergies, I wanted to be on the safe side and not pass something on. At this time [our state] had only announced 1 confirmed case of COVID19.
On the second day of wearing a mask, my direct supervisor took me aside and told me that, due to “guest perception,” that home office’s statement on “this” was: “If you feel sick, you can wear a mask; but that means you’re sick and you can go home, and this absence will be excused.” I asked them to clarify and they repeated the same roundabout explanation, so I clarified that they meant that I couldn’t wear a mask at work, but I could go home “sick” and have that absence count against me. They confirmed that was correct, and asked me “Do you feel sick?” I said no, and took off my mask.
When I returned to work that Wednesday, we were all told that we were “supposed to wipe down everything every half hour,” but the supervisor that day rolled their eyes and added “Just wipe down whenever it’s not busy.” No one was concerned but me. Then on Friday the 20th, the day I left, there was a dedicated Team Member going around wiping down everything semi-regularly, though when they went on lunch and after they left, no one took their place. I wiped stuff down myself after that.
Of course we were slammed all day, and I was in close contact (because when standing in my spot at a register it is impossible to remain 6 feet away from someone) with tons of people. Healthcare workers in scrubs, people who were coughing, elderly people, people who were turning down hand sanitizer when I offered it to them and who were poo-poohing the idea of the virus completely. Finally, a woman came through my line and leaned closer to say to me: “My husband has organ failure and is in the hospital for surgery; now he’s got something wrong with his lungs and they say he’s presumptive positive.” I finished ringing her up and said I needed to go to the bathroom, and switched out with another TM. I told my supervisors that I was leaving. The next day I found out that home office had issued a statement that we were now allowed to wear masks at work, but no one had informed me of that when I was there.Anonymous Target Team Member
“you do not meet the eligibility requirements”
This isn’t an uncommon account, in other Target stores where team members have tested positive for COVID19 Target will not shut down the stores. Meanwhile the paid leave offered to immunocompromised team members is being denied to team members for not averaging enough hours. Prior to the pandemic we were experiencing an extreme cut to our hours, which is the reason why some team members won’t be approved for COVID19 paid leave. We know Brian Cornell and the upper management of Target don’t have to worry about any of these issues as they get the luxury of working from home while being paid hundreds of times more than us rank and file Target workers.
We’re taking all the risks as Target workers, we need full compensation which includes full coverage of all medical expenses when we contract the coronavirus as a result of Target’s failure to fully comply with CDC guidelines. We have the right to refuse unsafe work conditions. We can’t wait for Cornell or others to ensure our safety, we have to take direct action and wear all PPE the CDC recommends including gloves, masks, and eye protection, while demanding the corporation install sneeze guards at the registers, enforce social distancing and the 10-person rule for gatherings. Please sign our petition below and share it with coworkers as we organize and fight for fair compensation and safety during this national emergency. We are essential workers and we deserve to be treated as essential workers!
If you have an account to share of exposure to COVID19 in your store, having issues with claiming your COVID19 benefits, or any other store issues as a Target worker please reach out to us so we can continue to provide on the ground updates and reports across all Target stores!