New Orleanian Dollar General Workers Launch National Movement For Better Working Conditions

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On May 25, Dollar General workers from New Orleans will hold a rally at the Dollar General shareholder meeting in Goodlettsville, TN. The group of 75 workers is supported by local and national advocacy organizations including:

In April, Dollar General fired Mary Gundel, a general manager of a store in Tampa, Florida after she made a series of TikTok videos documenting the difficult working conditions the retail store’s workers are often subjected to. Over the course of six videos, Gundel detailed how stores are often underfunded, understaffed, and subjected to disorganized shipping routes that made running a store difficult. The videos have since gone viral – and since Gundel’s firing, other managers have begun to speak out as well, using Gundel’s hashtag #Putinaticket.

Gundel will attend Wednesday’s rally, along with Kenya Slaughter, a Dollar General employee who wrote an op-ed in April 2020 outlining the ordeal essential workers would be subjected to during the pandemic. That op-ed led to countrywide PPE changes and hazard pay for all Dollar General workers.

“We’re putting ourselves at risk, all these other corporations are receiving hazard pay,” Slaughter said in 2020. “Hazardous conditions call for hazardous pay; if I’m putting myself in harm’s way, it’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to reap a little bit of benefit.”

Dollar General employees will join together with advocates and employees from other similar retail stores such as Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks, and various fast food chains. As they march from Peay Park towards the shareholder meeting, workers intend to hand out fliers letting people know about their working conditions. They hope to pressure the retailer to pay a living wage and address the dangerous working conditions that employees across the country are subjected to.

Since the start of the pandemic, Dollar General has made headlines for OSHA violations and rat infestations, in-store violence (including employees that have been shot, stabbed, held at gunpoint, punched, and pistol-whipped), grossly understaffed stores, and paying their employees poverty wages, all while expecting them to maintain a frantic work pace.

“Dollar General workers are standing up and joining a growing movement of hourly wage earners refusing to be treated as expendable any longer,” said Step Up Louisiana Co-Director and Co-Founder Benjamin Zucker in a press release. “In a powerful display of solidarity across the movement, workers from Starbucks, Amazon Walmart, and fast food chains will be in attendance at Wednesday’s rally.”

The Greater New Orleans area is home to over 50 Dollar General stores.

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