When COVID-19 stay-at-home orders began, so did the layoffs.
Retail workers have been some of the hardest hit, losing their previously reliable income as many large corporations closed operations at several of their facilities. Despite retail giants like Caterpillar, Levi Strauss, Stanley Black & Decker, and Steelcase doing this, they have almost simultaneously paid large dividends to their shareholders. That means that while hourly and low-wage workers were laid off in droves, shareholders got an additional check. The rich are literally getting richer—$434 billion wealthier since the pandemic hit—and we can’t accept these kinds of practices while Black people continue to face low wages, inability to get the healthcare they need, and violence from police.
Demand retail companies Caterpillar, Levi Strauss, Stanley Black & Decker pay reparations by donating to organizations that are supporting on-the-ground protestors.
Below is the petition we will send to retail companies Caterpillar, Levi Strauss, Stanley Black & Decker, and Steelcase.
Fighting for racial justice is so much more than a declaration that denounces racism. It requires dedication and action behind your words. Right now, you have a statement on your website that states your support of Black people. But, when COVID-19 hit, you furloughed or fired your hourly workers, many of whom are Black. Retail workers are disproportionately Black, which means your decision to lay off hourly workers has an undue impact on Black people and our families.
At the same time that you laid off your hourly workers, The Washington Post indicates that you paid out millions of dollars to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks. This is a slap in the face to the hourly workers who have dedicated themselves to working at your company.
Releasing a statement in support of Black people is not enough. In order to rectify your harmful decision to pay shareholders instead of your hourly workers, we request that you pay reparations in the form of donations to organizations that are supporting on-the-ground protestors.