Our fellow Target team member Callie at Store #1265 and her partner are expecting, yet they’re facing a struggle many of us coworkers also share, and that’s access to affordable housing. We’re calling on all Target team members to help out, even if it’s just resharing this story to coworkers, family members and friends. We know this time of year is very tough for team members as Target executives slash hours and increase our workloads. Many of us are scrambling to get enough hours, even picking up yet another part time job to pay the bills and support our families. We will link at the bottom of this page to an online fundraiser to help our fellow team member Callie and her baby secure housing. Please reshare and make a small contribution if you can!
TWU: Callie, how did you all find yourselves without a home?
Callie: Growing up wasn’t the easiest, I was living with my parents who were thousands and thousands of dollars in debt, but they did what they could to provide for me and my siblings. With that being said, I started working around 14 years old and haven’t gone without a job or paycheck since. I started taking care of myself for the most part around then too, and that included paying for my own necessities and bills. As I reached the age of 17 I wasn’t living at home, but staying with friends. I’ve gone from house to house trying to stay afloat for as long as I can, helping out in anyway I could. But as I got older, bills got higher, and harder to pay. I’ve always managed to find a way to get by, but now with a baby on the way, approaching fast at that, there is no more I am able to give. My boyfriend and I do all we can to save and only spend when necessary. This has put the both of us at a standstill, plus with the government shut down currently it’s making it harder to get government assistance and help.
TWU: How much does Target have to do with your financial difficulties?
Callie: Hours are never regular and vary week to week. Some weeks you can have a solid 35-40 hours, but other weeks will plummet to 17-25 when you are supposedly “full-time.” Target has even gone out of their way to change the way they function and now says “no employee is considered full-time.” Even trying to pick up an extra shift here or there only does so much. When you’re sick or have to miss a day they act as if the whole store will come crashing down without you, and this can cost you your job.
TWU: Are they helping you at all during your pregnancy?
Callie: No. I’ve even made requests to be moved from certain areas or have said I’m not able to do certain things anymore and it took me being injured at work and having to file an incident report for them to finally move me. Im lucky me or my unborn baby weren’t injured.
TWU: How will you deal with the issue of pay or lack thereof while on maternity leave?
Callie: I do get 6-8 weeks paid and might be able to apply for an additional 2, but after that there isn’t any pay at all. I had to qualify for this, but they also will only pay me my average amount of hours, which has plummeted since November. About 10 hours to be exact. I wouldn’t necessarily blame Target for the short 6-8 weeks pay entirely, but also the way the United States handles our maternal care. I’m not sure how I will be able to deal with this though. My only solution would be to come back to work as soon as I am fully healed and have someone to watch my child. I don’t know what I would do if I was a single mother in this predicament. My partner is working full-time and it still may not be enough to rely only on his pay check while I’m off.
TWU: Will your partner be able to have any paternity leave?
Callie: At the moment, no. I’m sure he will get some days off to stay with me in the hospital and spend time with the baby and I after she is born, but it is not paid. So he most likely will return to work as soon as she is born.
TWU: Did you know we are one of only three countries in the world without paid maternity leave? Why do you think that is?
Callie: I did actually, which I don’t understand. All mothers and fathers should have the right to take care of their child and be paid while on leave. And a livable income at that. I don’t understand how people expect you to get by without a pay check, especially with a new addition to the family. A newborn baby is very, very expensive.
TWU: How could Target executives help your family through all of this?
Callie: Be more supportive, and lenient on pregnant working mothers. Accommodate their needs, and understand what our bodies are going through. They need to realize there are major, dramatic changes going on some of us have never experienced before. I’m lucky enough to have been in great physical shape before my pregnancy so I wasn’t put on bed rest. I also wasn’t diagnosed with preeclampsia or gestational diabetes due to this, so I was able to work a lot longer then a lot of mothers out there.
TWU: Why do you think they don’t help team members such as yourself?
Callie: It’s all about staying within a budget and getting a bonus at the end of the year. A bonus none of us hard-working employees receive, but maybe a .50 cent raise yearly.
TWU: Do you think Target respects pregnant workers?
Callie: Im not sure about Target as a whole. With my store specifically it depends who your ETL is. Our previous ETL was very accommodating with my pregnant coworkers at the time, letting them sit and take breaks when needed, but now things have changed and I’m not sure if it was for the better.
TWU: What do you think the answer is to this issue of being a pregnant worker who is struggling to find affordable housing and what duty do you think Target executives have to you and other pregnant workers?
Callie: If they were more accommodating and helpful it would help end hunger and homelessness, especially for mothers who work full-time or even part-time, and do everything they can to give back. I wish they did more for us, even if we don’t fall in the middle class or higher. Those of us under the poverty line need help raising our babies too. How do you expect homelessness and hunger to end if no one is willing to help those in need, even when we are doing all we can to provide for ourselves and our children?
Please reshare this story and consider making a small contribution to our fellow team member Callie and her baby here