Target, Walmart workers and others plan ‘sickout’ protests over coronavirus safety

Target, Walmart workers and others plan ‘sickout’ protests over coronavirus safety
The grassroots effort spreading through social media is coinciding with International Workers’ Day, which is typically marked by labor rights demonstrations.

A Target worker in Virginia wearing his own mask, gloves and safety glasses said he felt helpless recently when customers swarmed him as he organized a clearance area. Another Target worker, a cashier in North Carolina, said he welcomed the installation of plexiglass partitions at the registers over a week ago, but said they should have come sooner. A Whole Foods worker in Portland said she and some of her colleagues are feeling “scared, angry and devastated” after a fellow employee died from the coronavirus last week.

To convey their concerns, they plan to call out of work Friday as part of a nationwide employee “sickout” involving Target and Whole Foods, as well as Amazon, Instacart, FedEx and Walmart.

The grassroots effort — the latest example of a wave of worker activism during the coronavirus crisis — is asking customers to boycott those companies’ local stores and services Friday to coincide with International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day, which in a normal year is marked by massive labor rights demonstrations in major cities.

“As workers, we have agency, we have the ability to change things, and we don’t have to be passive spectators in our political and social lives,” said Adam Ryan, a Target employee in Christiansburg, Virginia, and a liaison with Target Workers Unite, a rank-and-file initiative supporting the sickout.

Source: NBC

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