During the first year of Covid, I worked at a local pizza delivery place to make some extra cash as the timing truly sucked, as I’m sure it did for most of us! It was a national chain, extremely well known. The local franchise had an estimated 1400-1600 employees. Our location was a top money maker during the height of the pandemic. That first year, the corporation took out a 5.6 million dollar PPE loan. Our average worker saw about $50 of that, even though it averages out to about $3500 per employee. No essential work differential, no raise in wage. When gas rose more than a dollar per gallon in less than a year there was no additional compensation. Meanwhile they raised their delivery charge twice, to a total of a dollar more. Not one penny of that increase went to the drivers and crew. When Covid infected the store and they had to shut down for two weeks, there was no offer to assist, no sympathy to the employee. Instead, the district manager chastised the employees at a store meeting, expressing frustration at how much money it cost them to be shutdown for two weeks. There was no offer of time off, or scheduling for Covid vaccinations, no attempts to solve the issue – just anger that it cost them money… at the most profitable store in the region. When it was mentioned that the paid wages were relatively low, even for our area, the district manger stated that it was a good thing we didn’t live in a neighboring state where they were allowed to pay even lower wages. Honestly, I have many other stories that show their contempt for the people that work for them. I’d like to say that their behavior was outside the norm, but it really isn’t.
Employees are the blood and sweat of any business, the fundamental backbone by which Without them, nothing else is relevant. Running a business, small or large, is a true challenge, but treating the day to day employees as less than human, as paid property, is more than wrong, it is an anathema to what it means mean to be human, to what it means to be a Citizen in the USA. Or, that’s what it should be if things were as they were meant to be in our country.