Tilly Sees Opportunity for Retail Workers to Voice Concerns

Urban Planning Chair Chris Tilly was featured in a WWD article about the challenges facing front-line and retail workers during the pandemic. Big companies like Walmart and Amazon have made efforts to compensate their workers and institute safety measures, including staggering breaks, handing out protective gear, and offering one-time bonuses and temporary raises for employees. However, front-line workers still face increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 while working for low hourly wages and managing additional responsibilities. According to Tilly, highlighting inequalities has been one way worker advocacy groups have sought to frame the discussion, keeping the attention on workers speaking out about pay and safety issues. “Even though most retailers have backed off the hazard pay, or limited it to sort of one-off bonuses, there is, I think, in the general public a renewed respect for this workforce,” Tilly said. “I think that creates an opportunity … to advocate more for protections but also for more voice.”


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