Nique WilliamsTarget, Former Sales AssociateACCE Oakland
I have worked off and on in big retail for the last 5 years in Emeryville. I am dedicated and I work hard to provide for my daughter and myself.
In my most recent experience in retail, I worked at Target. At Target, they really push their employees to get surveys from customers about their service – in my first few months there my name was always at the top of the list for getting some of the highest numbers of surveys. When I was hired, I informed my manager that I had limited availability because as a single mother without a car, I need to take public transit to get my daughter to and from her Elementary school in the mornings and in the afternoons. My manager agreed to my availability.
Two weeks into work at Target they tried to fire me because they told me they didn’t like my strict availability. What that meant to me was that they didn’t like that I was a single mother and that I prioritized my daughter over Target’s profits. I fought for myself, reminded them that they had agreed to my schedule when I was hired and was able to keep my job for short while longer. On December 19 was told that my last day would be in one week ‐ the day after Christmas – because “my season had ended.” I was never hired as a seasonal employee and the Target’s “official season” certainly was not yet over. Meanwhile Target continued to hire more and more people.
A few weeks later, because I had lost my source of income, my [utilities] were cut off. With my electricity gone, my fridge turned off and all my food rotted. I had no food for days to feed me and my daughter. Big retail corporations expect their employees to run their lives around their needs. No mother and no person should ever be expected to put a company’s profits before their family and certainly shouldn’t lose their job because of it.
If we had a Fair Work Week in Emeryville I wouldn’t have lost my job. Instead, my schedule and availability would have been respected, I could have spent more time with my family and been allowed to gain more available hours before they hired new workers. I am not alone in this. My experience in all retail companies has been the same. Many other retail workers across Emeryville and across this country experience constant underemployment and unreliable, unpredictable schedules. Emeryville needs to lead the way to passing a Fair Work Week so we can lift up thousands of families to live healthy and flourishing lives.