Dollar General Workers ‘Stare Down Historic’ Union Vote, Vowing "We're Gonna Fight" - With ‘Little’ National Attention, A Connecticut Dollar General Store ‘Could Soon Help Unions Crack A Vital Low-Wage Industry’
(BARKHAMSTED, CONNECTICUT) - In less than two weeks, a tiny group of a half dozen Workers in Barkhamsted will vote on whether to become the only Unionized Dollar General Store Employees in America.
These six people in a small town about 20 miles northwest of Hartford now find themselves positioned to gain a historic toehold for Organized Labor inside a booming, low-wage industry.
But it will not be easy.
Few companies have prospered since the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic as much as Dollar General.
The company boasts that three quarters of all Americans now live within five miles of one of its nearly 18,000 stores.
The Washington Post reported that foot traffic at those stores has risen by a third in the past two years.
Dollar General’s stock price has boomed during the pandemic and the company is now worth almost $50 billion.
It is the king of the dollar store industry, whose growth has far outpaced that of traditional big box stores like Walmart and Target, as the have-nots of the American economy have come to rely on the industry’s cheaper, and more ubiquitous, offerings.
Dollar General employs more than 157,000 people.
Last year, the company attracted negative publicity for firing an internal whistleblower who criticized what many saw as the company’s inadequate plans for keeping its Workers safe.
Last May, a group of Dollar General Workers in Maine went viral for walking out and quitting, festooning the store with notes about the company’s low wages and disrespect of Employees.
Thin staffing, along with low pricing, are at the heart of the company’s business model.
Ironically, the Staffers in Barkhamsted who’ve launched the Union Drive say they enjoyed the job.
“The place is like a family. The people there are family. We all take care of each other,” said a Barkhamsted Dollar General Employee who asked to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation at work.
According to the Employee, the Union Drive came about in September as a result of poor treatment of Employees by a Dollar General District Manager.
The Employee said that the District Manager ignored a complaint of sexual harassment in the store and was heard making racist remarks about the store’s Manager.
When the District Manager unfairly accused the store’s Manager of stealing, the Employee said: “We all got scared. If they could do something like this to someone who didn’t do anything, what could they do to us?”
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