There are certain things that aren’t hard to understand. If you are mean to people, they won’t like being around you. If you eat a lot of junk food, you will be unhealthy. However there’s one that seems to evade people, but it’s not rocket science. Let me explain.
Exposed by a Virus
As COVID-19 spread throughout the US, we began to see something new. It was something that was always just under the surface, but something that hadn’t quite seen the light of day.
As states started shutting down and essential businesses began dealing with the needs of customers, it became more obvious. What we accept as normal suddenly became glaringly and painfully clear: the people we call essential were the same people businesses consider expendable.
Essential workers dying with improper PPE or other protections and without options to not come into work if they were at risk showed us the truth: those workers were being exploited.
When we saw it we realized it’s not rocket science: this is bad and often normal.
Biggest Chain; Big Mistakes
Recently Kroger, the nation’s biggest supermarket chain caught a great deal of ire for the way it treated its employees.
Many employees have complained that they don’t have proper protections. Then Kroger caught heat for removing its “hero bonus” for working during the pandemic. Not long after they sent letters to employees saying they were overpaid and told them that if they didn’t return the money they would be sent to collections. After a media backlash, Kroger backed off.
It’s worth noting that Kroger’s CEO received a 19% pay hike last year bringing his total compensation to nearly 12 million. When we have a system ready to send workers at risk to collections while the CEO makes bank – it’s not rocket science – something’s wrong.
Amazon recently tried to smear and fire employees for protesting a lack of PPE even though the company is seeing an increase in COVID deaths. At the same time, its founder is set to become the worlds first trillionaire.
Hobby Lobby was keeping its stores open without concern for its staff even causing local law enforcement to have to step in in one instance to shut them down.
There are businesses that are really struggling and owners who care about their employees, but when mega-rich owners and shareholders force their workers to take risks when they are just trying to put food on the table – it’s not rocket science – that’s wrong.
It’s Not Rocket Science
You don’t need a prestigious degree to understand that those who get rich from the effort of those they exploit are doing bad things. If the people that work for you make you rich while they can’t afford to live a decent life, that’s exploitation, and that’s wrong.
Why do we allow this? We need to stop letting this be the norm in our society. We need to push back. We need to let owners know that we support businesses that support employees and we don’t support businesses that don’t.
Until we give our business to the people who care about their employees we will continue to find people being exploited. We must focus more of our purchases from companies that support workers instead of those who exploit them. After all – it’s not rocket science. If we want to see a better world, we have to be the ones who demand it.