Retail Action Project (RAP)
The Retail Action Project (RAP) is an organization of retail workers dedicated to improving opportunities and workplace standards in the retail industry. RAP’s growing membership network is an industry voice for retail workers who work for major retailers across the industry, ranging from bargain chains to high-end department stores. Together with community and labor allies, RAP members are impacting retailers’ labor practices and the public policies that affect their lives. RAP supports retail workers’ path towards career security and advancement through job training, services and professional networking. To learn more, please visit RetailActionProject.org.
Your Payroll Cards Are Rip-OffsWhen I started working at Burlington Coat Factory in 2013, the company recommended that I get paid with their payroll debit card. They made it sound like a good deal for me -- so I was shocked when I realized the card included hidden fees. It turns out there was a lot I didn't know about the card. We never got paper pay stubs. If we wanted them for any reason, we had to pay $3 per stub to have a hard copy sent to us. That's a lot of money when you just make $8.55 an hour like I did. Burlington uses an online payroll system we can log on to, but many of us can't afford a smartphone, a computer, or internet access. We also had to pay a fee to use an out-of-network ATM -- so the ATM would charge us a fee, then the card company charges another fee. You could pay $7.50 just to get your own money! People shouldn't have to pay just to get paid! Employers shouldn't be able to push their employees to participate in a payroll system that doesn't always work. We ought to have a choice about whether to get paystub records, paper checks, direct deposit or payroll cards. We ought to receive all the information about any fees associated with these cards. And when things go wrong, we need to know who we can hold accountable. And things do go wrong -- it took a month for me to get my first payroll deposit, and instead of getting help resolving the issue I just got the runaround. The card company said to talk to Burlington Coat Factory. My supervisor at Burlington Coat Factory told me to talk to the card company. No one accepted responsibility for getting me the money I had earned. I borrowed money for a month just to get by. I couldn't even help my godmother pay our rent. When there's no accountability, workers like me are caught in the middle. Thing is, more and more employers are switching to these payroll cards every day, and some of these cards have even worse terms than the ones we got from Burlington Coat Factory. This madness has to stop somewhere. It's time for us to take a stand. I'm calling on Burlington Coat Factory to lead the industry in implementing a fair and transparent pay system. Whether you shop at Burlington Coat Factory or work in retail, please add your name. Together, we'll convince Burlington to do what's right and begin changing this industry-wide practice. Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/people/jeepersmedia/500 of 600 signaturesCreated by Melvin J.
Zara: Treat retail employees with respectUPDATE: Thanks to you, our efforts are starting to #ChangeZara! In December, Zara workers in NYC received a letter from the US Managing Director, Dilip Patel, saying that workers will receive raises of up to $3 an hour and access to full-time positions. This is a major victory for our campaign and demonstrates that when workers come together, we can make real changes! Our campaign is gaining great momentum, but we still need your support to help bring Dilip Patel to the table and hear our concerns. Please read our petition below and sign and share! ***** First off, let me introduce myself. I’m Jedidiah Labinjo and I work at Zara in New York City. Sharlene Santos, one of the original leaders of the campaign, recently moved out of state so I’ve been inspired to step up and help move the campaign along with my Zara coworkers -- and you! I’ve worked as a sales associate at the Zara store in SoHo for a year. I have been commended by my supervisor for my work ethic and customer service skills, but I’ve yet to see an increase in my pay of $10.50 an hour. I live with my mother and contribute to my family’s bills. I’m also in school full-time studying pre-law, which has helped me think about my rights at work. It’s hard to juggle my priorities of work, school, and family when I have a constantly changing schedule at Zara. Managers are full-time, but we sales associates have a very hard time getting more hours, even though Zara continues hiring more part-time associates. Many associates feel that there is a lot of favoritism in determining who gets the promotions that would make us full-time. Many of my coworkers are students or parents with young children. We all work hard to get by. We earn so little at Zara that many of us can’t even afford to buy the clothes that we sell. With these kinds of poverty schedules, we are forced to choose between bills, rent, and food. So my coworkers and I circulated a petition to address our issues at Zara: low wages, not enough hours, favoritism, and disrespect. When we presented our concerns to a store manager, she said there was nothing she could do. Since we first launched this petition, a delegation of Zara workers from the US traveled to Spain to take our concerns directly to the top company executives as US Management has not agreed to sit down with us collectively for substantive discussions. We’ve been told to discuss problems at work on a one-on-one basis with our managers. But these issues aren’t individual -- they are company-wide. We want Zara’s management to come to the table to hear our #ChangeZara committee’s collective concerns about scheduling, wages, and opportunities for advancement. Zara's hugely profitable parent company, Inditex, is proud of its reputation as a socially responsible business. Zara workers in Spain have a union that grants them a voice at the table -- don't we deserve the same respect here in the US? Join us in our fight to #ChangeZara.2,038 of 3,000 signaturesCreated by Jedidiah Labinjo
Forever 21: We Demand Full-Time OpportunitiesForever 21 sent a devastating memo to several hundred of its full-time U.S. employees this week informing them of drastic cuts to their hours and benefits. In addition to losing hours and all of our health benefits, employees are also losing the ability to earn paid time off – and the company gave us less than two week’s notice! I just started working at Forever 21 in New York City, but now I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to work there, because I need a job that I can actually survive on. When I first applied for the job, I was promised growth and working with the visual team to become a merchandiser. They explained I would be learning and growing and starting off in sales with full time hours. However when I was hired, I suddenly found myself cleaning and organizing the stock room in a part-time position. When I asked what happened with the position I applied for I was brushed off and ignored. I didn't realize that the company treats their employees like that, and now Forever 21 is essentially ending full-time employment for non-management employees altogether. Imagine having a sick child or a chronic illness, then finding out that in less than two weeks, your health insurance will terminated, your paychecks will be smaller, and you won't have any paid time off to take care of your medical issues –All because you are part time. Unstable scheduling in the retail industry is a serious problem. Imagine trying to fit together two part-time work schedules with just days or hours’ advance notice of your shift. To make matters worse, many jobs require you to work "on call" shifts, which means you have to call two hours before your shift to see if you have to work (or you'll face disciplinary action). But if you're not called in, you don't get paid. This practice wreaks havoc in our lives and, in my opinion, amounts to exploitation. Companies claim they can't remain profitable without reducing workers' schedules, but that's a poor excuse because many of these same companies are providing full-time opportunities to workers in other parts of the world. In the Munich, Germany, Forever 21 is hiring full time entry-level sales associates. In Liverpool, England, the job I applied for in New York (a "visual merchandiser") is listed as a full-time position. Why can't these same opportunities be made available in every U.S. location? The Retail Action Project's #JustHours campaign holds companies accountable for forcing workers into unstable unpredictable part time retail jobs, because they can do better. Forever 21 has an opportunity to do the right thing -- to show its employees that it respects the work we do and the valuable contribution we make to the company each day. Every Forever 21 store should have full-time opportunities for hard-working employees. NOTE: The author of this petition has chosen to use a pseudonym to protect her identity. The Retail Action Project has verified that she works for Forever 21.656 of 800 signaturesCreated by Trisha A.
Juicy: Take Care of Your WorkersMy name is Duane, and I’m a proud father of my beautiful five-year-old daughter. I worked at Juicy Couture’s flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York City for almost four years in the stock department. I started this petition with my coworker Darrell, because while we stock & sell Juicy Couture’s $200 jeans and sweaters, the company decided they don’t want to take care of their workers. Darrell was a successful full-time sales associate for two and half years, until the company started pushing full-time workers out. When I started, I also got 40 hours a week, but I struggled along with my coworkers as our hours were cut. Eventually, I was down to 14 hours each week. When I asked for more hours, they said they couldn’t give them to me because I didn’t have open availability – because of my daughter. When we began working at Juicy Couture, many of us were full-time. Now, only 19 of the store’s 128 employees are full-time! Not only are they firing full-time workers and replacing us with a part-time workforce, just this month Juicy capped all part-time workers hours at 21 hours per week. We quickly realized that Juicy Couture is doing everything they can to not take care of its workers. See, it was hard enough for us to make ends meet in New York City as full-time retail workers. But by keeping hours under 30 per week, Juicy Couture will no longer be required to offer their workers affordable health care – part of the Affordable Health Care Act’s plan to make sure more working Americans have basic health care. Further, we were told we’re only eligible for paid time off in case we’re sick or have other responsibilities if we work 1400 hours in one year. We did the math, and realized part-time workers reach that at 21 hours per week. This means that the vast majority of Juicy Couture’s workers will not ever get one single paid sick day. Darrell and I are just two of the full-time employees that have been forced out of Juicy Couture by having our hours cut or being fired. Now we’re speaking out on behalf of my coworkers who remain at the store, because we all deserve Just Hours. We know from experience that Juicy has loyal customers and dedicated employees -- if enough of us speak out and demand Just Hours, they'll have no choice but to act.4,725 of 5,000 signaturesCreated by Duane and Darrell