Connect with us

National News

Viewpoint: Retail workers have the right to unionize

It’s time to give retail workers a voice.

Published

on

It’s time to face facts. Modern consumer retail is changing by way of an evolving society obsessed with convenience and simplicity. This past year, online retail sales made for 12 percent of all consumer purchases. While this may seem quite low, the revenue generated from these sales is only expected to increase with time. In a world now fully dependent on technology, it makes sense that consumerism is switching over to the internet because of its reliability. However, the move from traditional in-person shopping to an online medium will have an enormous impact on the U.S. economy. It could eventually even cost thousands of jobs for hourly employees across the country.

These workers deserve protection in a field with an uncertain future. Unions could give them a voice they so desperately need, but many retail chains don’t want their employees to have this power. Some even go so far as to threaten them with immediate termination for merely bringing up the idea of forming a union.

There’s a problem here. The staunch anti-unionism of American retail is well known. It’s even been a topic on NBC’s terrific but underrated sitcom “Superstore” that follows the daily life of working for a large retailer perfectly. People are often concerned about the low wages employees working in retail make, but there has yet to be a noticeable, concrete push for unionization among these workers.

With their jobs possibly in jeopardy, now is as good a time as any to make this a priority in discussions on how to improve the lives of the average minimum wage earner.

The recent events at Sam’s Club are an example of how a union could help workers in times of change. The Walmart owned chain recently came public with the decision to close over 60 stores nationwide likely resulting in the loss of over 10,000 jobs. Though it is unknown if a union could have prevented these closures, workers would surely feel much safer with their presence in the aftermath of these numerous layoffs. Walmart has a long history of unfair workplace treatment that puts its working-class workers only at more of a disadvantage, but the chain is certainly not the only force in the destructive force many have set against unions.

Retail employees deserve better than the treatment they currently receive. Though some companies like Costco are known for providing solid benefits and pay, the vast majority of American retailers profit off of the poverty of their employees. Hours can be cut without so much as even a warning. Wages are often stagnant and not nearly close to a necessary salary to provide for one’s self or family. These conditions are decidedly unfair, but the many working class people of retail who may or may not be living below the poverty line don’t have much of a choice but to stay and hope for better days. These big-box retailers know this and consciously choose to do what best suits their monetary interests rather than doing what helps the people who serve them with labor and time.

A union would provide a voice for the voiceless workers of a dwindling retail industry in the fight against money hungry CEOs and companies. Surely, unionization would not perfect the lives of these employees, but it would give them a greater chance of protecting themselves in these difficult times. If a national conversation about raising the minimum wage can be started, it is absolutely time that the same happens for the right of employees to form a union.

 

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

Lauren Grimaldi is a senior political science student at Roosevelt University in Chicago. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Roosevelt Torch, the school's student run newspaper. When she graduates in May, she hopes to find work in policy reform, political campaigns, or writing. Follow her on Twitter @laurengrimaldi_ to learn more about her obsession with politics and baseball.

Sign up for the Morning Scoop

and wake up with us each day.

CMN Reports

National News23 hours ago

CNN Sues Trump Administration Over Jim Acosta Access

CNN file a lawsuit against President Trump

by , Mercy College
2018 Midterms4 days ago

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Wins a Third Term

Many government officials from New York were reelected and new faces were elected into government in Tuesday's Midterm Election.

by , Mercy College
2018 Midterms6 days ago

Electoral Reform and Voting Rights Expansion Won Big in the Midterms

From Florida to Michigan, voting rights expansions and electoral reform are making gains.

by , The Catholic American University
National News6 days ago

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospitalized After Fracturing Ribs in a Fall

The Supreme Court Justice fell in the office on Wednesday night

by , Cal Poly SLO
Academics7 days ago

Analysis: Adolescent Mental Health Issues are on the Rise and Gun Violence is to Blame

Children are rightfully beginning to fear going to school because of the massive amount of school shootings within recent years.

by , The College of New Jersey
Health2 weeks ago

First FDA Approved Cannabis-Based Drug Available for Prescription

CBD has been known to treat seizures for years, but now the FDA is on board, making it legal for...

by , CMN Senior Correspondent
Government2 weeks ago

Multiple Suspicious Devices Sent to Prominent People in the Democratic Party

Several devices sent to various locations within a few days.

by , Mercy College
Government2 weeks ago

Authorities Make Arrest in Mail Bomb Case

The pipe bomber was identified as Cesar Sayoc, Jr. from Aventura, Florida.

by , Mercy College

Top Reads