‘Every Day Is Frightening’: Working For Walmart Amid Covid-19 Pandemic
‘They are now making us do things like carry heavy shopping bags or lift heavy boxes.’
When Anthony “Popcorn” Johnson lost his job as a Walmart greeter with the retail giant in March, he had spent his entire life as a greeter.
His father trained him when he was 13, and Popcorn was the only greeter in his family to have a job. He’s been working at Walmart for 26 years, and it was the best job he ever had.
“I was the only greeter at that time. It’s a big company, and people will have an idea to get them to do the work that they are supposed to do. I don’t care about getting any recognition, as long as I got to do what I was trained for.”
He’s not alone. There were more than 250,000 full- and part-time workers employed by Walmart as of Wednesday, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Johnson, 39, tells CNN that he’s working from home as a greeter “for now until it’s safe to go back to work.” But he says he has no choice:
“They are now making us do things like carry heavy shopping bags or lift heavy boxes. I never lifted my arms like that in my life, I can’t even lift a box.”
The new coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people to work from home, from restaurant managers to grocery store clerks. The pandemic began in China last December, but the number of infected people far surpasses its peak in January.
The fear is that more people will begin to get sick. That’s why Walmart has been pushing employees to work from home in the interim, while they try to find a way to make a living.
“How are we supposed to make a living if we don’t get a paycheck? This is a big challenge that we are facing,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told CBS in an emotional interview this week.
The news out of China is also alarming to Walmart employees. “We just don’t know what the future