New York, NY – Walmart workers and associates have launched a new website that will allow them to upload and read in real time the number of suspected Covid-19 infections in their store and surrounding area.
The non-profit United for Respect that represents Walmart associates said they created the areyousafe.work site because of the alarming rate of deaths—20 to date—among Walmart associates.
The launch of the website coincided with a national day of action whereby more than 500 Walmart associates called out sick.
“The rise of deaths and infections of Walmart associates show clearly that the company is not only failing to keep its associates and customers safe, but also failing to communicate clearly about store conditions,” Ruby Ann Woolwine, an associate at a Walmart in Michigan, told reporters this week. “We can’t wait for more half-measures—we’re taking matters into our own hands to get the information we deserve to know.”
Woolwine also said that the newly-launched tracker will allow Walmart employees to keep each other informed and safe “and keep our customers safe, too.”
“It’s both a resource for the public and a call for Walmart to prioritize our safety,” she said.
According to a member of the development team that created the tracker, associates can upload information of suspected positive cases in their store, as well as general information about safety conditions such as the availability of Personal Protective Equipment [PPE]. In addition, associates can upload the information anonymously, so they don’t have to worry about retaliation.
The public can also check the tracker online. United for Respect says corporations like Walmart have a responsibility to prevent outbreaks from becoming epicenters.
“Workers have been demanding, and continue to demand, that Walmart notify employees of potential or confirmed cases of Covid-19 or illnesses so that they, as a team, can best support each other and maintain their safety and that of their customers — and the tracker is an effort to help ensure that information that is critical during the Covid-19 pandemic is readily available and working people aren’t kept in the dark as cases go unreported in their stores,” said Cindy Murray, a 19-year Walmart employee in Maryland.
Walmart has not responded to requests for comment about the new tracker. The giant multi-national corporation insists that it is taking measures to ensure safety at its stores and distribution centers, as well as providing an increase in drive-through testing. That information is available here.