Ten years ago I started what I hoped would be my last job, until retiring. As with all jobs I’ve had, I gave it 110%. I worker for six years, full time and received full benefits. On the first day, during orientation I was shown an anti-union video. Having worked the previous four years for a company that was unionized, I was very disappointed to see that I would not have this advantage at the new job.

After the first six years things changed. The economy took a hit and it directly effected me. I was dropped to part time and my benefits were taken away, As a senior citizen I was on my own. I stayed dedicated and did not lower my standards as to the quality of my work. I hoped this would gain me more hours on the schedule each week. It didn’t happen. Rather than be appreciated for my efforts, I was gradually treated with less and less respect.

The store team leader I would find had no respect for anyone who worked for him. Within the first month he was in charge every single team leader found excuses to leave or transfer to other stores. Then, as new ones came on, it was only a matter of time before most of them left too. As for the rest of us, having no where else to go, we stayed and are continuing to suffer his disregard and abuse.

Most of the young women have confided in me, that he makes them very uncomfortable with inappropriate touching on their backs and makes unacceptable remarks. The young men have also been insulted by this same “man in charge”. Racist remarks and gender insults. Crude sexual insults referring to women customers. I’ve been told all of this, first hand, and in confidence. Virtually no one is comfortable when he is present.

At one point he lost control and grabbed me by the neck to stop me from trying to calmly explain why I didn’t move fast enough to help him out. He is sixteen years younger than me and has no regard for seniors either. I have high anxiety every time I go to work. When he grabbed me my supervisor was too intimidated by him and in fear of losing her job to document the event. He still verbally insults me every chance he gets. Some have called our hotline to complain about him and his misbehavior only to have nothing done about it. Hopeless, some of them are now on anti-depression medication.

Some of the best people in charge of my work have been let go, unfairly been told the company needed to “down size” only to be immediately replaced by new hires at a lower pay rate. All in all there’s a general bad feeling among most of my co-workers and it’s become a dread to work there. Bullying, sexual harassment and physical and mental abuse appears to be the norm in this workplace.

Sadly for me to seek out alternative employment at my age nearing retirement is not an option. I continue to work harder than the company deserves with integrity and defiance. I live for the day when I no longer have to be stressed about going to work in a very unpleasant place. I’ve worked forty-four years and am looking forward to hopefully witness a big change in the workplace once I’m gone. This kind of disrespect has to stop. After all if all of us walked off the job on any given day where would the retail stores be then? Empty? As John Lennon sang a working class hero is something to be!


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