Sacrifices on the Capitalist Altar: From a Frontline Grocery Worker

By Comrade Leek 

August 12, 2020

COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the poor, colonized, and working class, and has killed over 150,000 people in the US since it began sweeping the country in February. The fascist Trump administration has been silencing doctors and scientists, and as we have begun to see, local authorities and companies are beginning to also silence those who speak out about the dangerous malfeasance of the ruling classes. Even what liberals might call the “good” capitalists are engaged in the most shady practices, motivated only by greed. I know because I am employed by some of them. 

I am a worker at a Midwestern grocery chain called Schnucks, and have been working on the front lines for the entirety of the pandemic. When a store gets its first positive case, Schnucks makes sure to loudly make it known by putting it in the local news, and sends in a special crew to clean the store for a day. But after this patient zero is announced, any additional cases are kept under wraps and quietly added to the list of positive cases at the Schnucks chain. Testing isn’t offered by the store to employees if they were potentially exposed to coronavirus. They also cut the hazard pay of frontline workers and managers after May. Despite the pandemic growing worse, many stores, including Schnucks, have stopped their token gestures or have done much worse (i.e. removing or prohibiting safety measures that would save the lives of the workers). Working conditions at Schnucks are far from good now, but are only going to deteriorate further as nationwide business begins to reopen and loosen restrictions as their callous disregard for life becomes clearer. 

Now is the time for workers to begin to organize with their coworkers. The unions that operate in grocery chains like Schnucks are usually sell-outs that only give token help to workers, while actually aiding the interests of the CEO’s and high ups in power. Despite being unionized, most Schnucks employees still barely make more than minimum wage. If you find any strain of radicalism, run with it at work. We cannot let the young and the poor, who have been on the frontlines, perish from this pandemic. It is right to rebel!