FROM: Charles Kernaghan, National Labor Committee
RE: Under Pressure, Wal-Mart Changes Policy on Swine Flu
It is not enough, but it is a first step.
Last Friday, November 6, on Good Morning America, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman said no Wal-Mart employee would be fired for having swine flu. Still under pressure, on Monday (November 9), a senior vice president told the Washington Post that workers needing to stay home due to the flu will not receive a demerit or be docked their wages. Workers can use the sick leave they have accrued to pay for their first day out.
It is no small thing that popular pressure can force the largest employer in the U.S. to change its punitive policies.
Wal-Mart employees quickly point out that these policy changes should also cover workers who most stay home to take care of children or other family members who are sick with the flu.
This should be just the first step in ending Wal-Mart's punitive demerit system and the docking of wages when their employees are out sick, no matter if it is for swine flu or seasonal flu, strep throat, a 24-hour virus, conjunctivitis or taking care of a sick child. This would be the right thing to do. It would protect both Wal-Mart employees and customers from the spread of their illnesses.
Wal-Mart must now immediately review all cases where employees were fired, directly or indirectly because they contracted swine flu. We do not believe that the attached account of Tricia, a worker who was recently fired from the Wal-Mart supercenter in Nampa, Idaho for having swine flu, is an isolated case.
Wal-Mart employers who have been fired for having the swine flu should contact the NLC. We will help. Please spread the word.
Tricia worked 3 ½ years at Wal-Mart, Before being fired for having Swine flu.
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