Workers Rising Day of Action Exposes JC Penney as a “Worst Player”

Posted by yana 0 Comments

by Ire Lavezzari

I was proud to march and speak at yesterday’s Workers Rising: Day of Action in New York City. I came out to demand better salaries and conditions from some of the worst employers of low wage workers in the country. We began our march in front of my former employer, JC Penney, where I worked for three years as a salesperson. It was my first retail job ever, so I worked hard, but I had no idea what was in store for me.

Because I’m trying to get an education, I’m going to school full time. I made this clear to the company when I was hired, and I told my managers when I had classes. They never wanted to work with my schedule and they would make changes to it without telling me, then hold me accountable. I started at $8.25 an hour, and after three years, I only made $9.50 an hour.  Once a year I was evaluated for a raise, but they didn’t let me know what I’d be evaluated on when I was hired.

The lack of respect and communication at my store was unbelievable.  One time I was sick for three days, and I called in each day that I couldn’t come in. I’d stay hold for 30 minutes waiting to speak to a manager, and when I couldn’t get through, I gave the receptionist the message and my employee ID.  They still considered it a no-call no-show, and I was disciplined, even thought I had a note from my doctor.

I was yelled at by my management at in front of others, and one time when a customer physically assaulted me, my managers didn’t even kick her out of the store, but continued to help her. Security took 20 minutes to come, and my managers gossiped about the incident. I thought that I would be the one who’d get fired.

After three years of this, I was laid off in April, along with one of my coworkers (just before JC Penney eliminated commissioned sales positions).  They just stopped scheduling her, and she called over and over to get her schedule, and to ask management HR why she wasn’t on the schedule. Week after week, no one got back to her, and no one told her that she didn’t have her job any longer.  She didn’t find out she’d been laid off until she got a letter in the mail, weeks later.

I now regret taking this job. JC Penney didn’t respect me, or understand we have responsibilities like our families and our education. That’s why workers like me from the Retail Action Project, along with the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, came out to demanding better conditions.

We’re pushing back against unpredictability and unjust workplaces, because we deserve better.

Comments are closed.