- As the number of new COVID-19 infections smashes daily records, the pandemic has entered its deadliest phase yet. With winter looming, millions of frontline essential retail workers face grave risks to their health, often for very low wages and without the hazard pay they were earning at the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the biggest retail companies in the country continue to earn eye-popping profits.
- While top retail companies’ profits have soared during the pandemic, pay for their frontline workers has not. In total, the top retail companies in our analysis earned on average an extra $16.9 billion in profit this year compared to last—a stunning 39% increase—while stock prices are up an average of 33%. And with few exceptions, frontline retail workers have seen little of this windfall.
- “To me, it’s like a slap in the face,” said Jeffrey Reid—a meat clerk at a Giant Food outside of D.C. “All of a sudden, we went from being essential to being sacrificial, all for the sake of the bottom line. Now you’re telling us that this thing is still out here, people are still dying, and you want to do away with hazard pay and give a one-time bonus? It’s a bunch of B.S., to be honest. It is still a pandemic, the last time I checked. There is a still a hazard out there.”
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