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Pet adoption surges in a pandemic – but workers blame retailers for abuse | Retail industry

As the demand for pets and pet supplies increased due to the coronavirus pandemic, workers at PetSmart and Petco, the two largest pet retailers in the United States, refused to grant hazard pay throughout the pandemic, reducing staff and remaining. He states that he has increased the workload. Employees are planning decisions to enrich Wall Street investors.

Demand for pet supplies increased throughout the pandemic as Americans working socially remote in remote areas contributed to the proliferation of pet adoptions across the United States.

In September 2020, Bloomberg was considered by Petco owners, private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners, and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board for an initial public offering or sale in 2021, and retail chain estimates are debt. It reported that it was 6 billion dollars including.

Private-equity firm, which owns PetSmart and Chewy, announced in October 2020 plans to split the two companies three years after the merger. Workers say the deal will increase PetSmart’s debt while sucking $ 11 billion to Wall Street investors by transferring PetSmart’s Chewy shares to them. Chewy confirmed that the stock price more than doubled during the coronavirus pandemic.

TJ Daniels, a retailer who worked in Petco, Dillon, Colorado for about four years, had time and time due to several employees being temporarily dismissed, sick, and quarantined during a pandemic. The workload has increased significantly. All Petco retailers remained open throughout the pandemic.

“The shortage of employees made the work very difficult and stressful. Everyone came to stockpile dog food and buy animals, so additional work was done while dealing with additional people in the store. It has to put a strain on the workforce, “says Daniels.

He was supposed to raise 50 cents an hour, but was canceled, but recently he has only received a raise of 30 cents an hour. “I didn’t receive any hazard pay. They tried to give us small bonuses here and there, one of me was $ 24. The manager received $ 200 and the regular clerk received $ 75. It’s totally useless, “he said.

Daniels sought paid leave for quarantine, strengthening coronavirus security throughout the pandemic, allowing stores to limit business hours, allow employees to monitor capacity and implement it. He said that workers would only be paid for one week for quarantine, and in the second week they would be given paid leave if they did not use the paid leave they had incurred, and the workers would have to repay the company. Stated.

He is one of several workers at United for Respect, signing a letter to Petco’s owners in response to an initial public offering or sale potential, and giving Petco a hazard pay to workers. We asked for healthcare and company board remarks. ..

Chris Brotzer, who works as Petco’s warehouse in Greenville, South Carolina, also signed the letter. He explained that while the workload increased significantly during the pandemic, his salary remained at $ 9 per hour.

“I was making $ 9 an hour to kill myself,” Blotzer said. “I picked and packed 100 orders a day, but most of the day I couldn’t complete the order.”

Phil Andrews, who has worked as a dog groomer in Petco, Miami, Florida for 13 years, also elaborated on the difficult situation.

“We don’t have the staff to maintain and carry out the wearing and cleaning of masks,” Andrews said. “They are rolling out new advertising campaigns. They want us to sell their pet insurance plans now, but they haven’t talked about hazard pay. They tell us more. We are asking you to do that and we are not strict about our safety. “

A Petco spokesperson claimed that the company provides sufficient personal protective equipment to its 27,000 employees nationwide.

“As our business began to recover, we ended the planned furlough and wage cut period early and returned to strategic employment to explain the continued growth of our entire business. “It was,” the spokesman said in an email. “We also invested $ 13 million in additional compensation for the field team, including a five-cycle Covid Thanks Bonus. We invested $ 7 million in additional paid leave related to Covid. And the company and its leaders. Established Petco Partner Assistance Fund with initial funding of over $ 2 million. “

Petco and PetSmart do not offer starting hourly wages to associates, but according to Payscale, Petco’s retail associates average wages of $ 9.86 per hour and PetSmart $ 10.06 per hour.

PetSmart, owned by private-equity firm BC Partners, has suffered billions of dollars in debt over the past few years. During the pandemic, PetSmart initially refused to stop dog grooming services in many parts of the United States, but in some areas it was considered non-essential.

Alex Ludwig, an employee of PetSmart in San Antonio, Texas, said the store’s cashier was fired at the beginning of the pandemic, but all the rest of the employees, except the manager, experienced reduced working hours. It was.

“My time has personally decreased by 10 to 20 hours a week,” Ludwig said. “It’s a lot worse than previous Black Friday sales, and customers aren’t keeping their social distance at all.”

Ludwig is one of the dozens of current and former PetSmart workers who signed a letter in July 2020 requesting workers’ hazard pay, medical benefits and appropriate personal protective equipment for company ownership. was.

She resigned in September 2020 after months of complaints and concerns were ignored by management.

A PetSmart spokeswoman told Guardian that the company had invested millions of dollars in providing personal protective equipment to its employees.

“Since the pandemic began, we have paid frontline employees more than $ 20 million in additional compensation, including special thank-you bonuses, medical premium payments, and other medical benefits. Includes, “they said in an email. “We have also made a $ 1 million donation to the long-standing PetSmart Associate Assistance Foundation to help front-line workers in personal or financial hardship, for diversity and inclusiveness. To facilitate the effort, we have set up a $ 1 million scholarship fund for colored employees. “

Pet adoption surges in a pandemic – but workers blame retailers for abuse | Retail industry

Source link Pet adoption surges in a pandemic – but workers blame retailers for abuse | Retail industry

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