I am a regular customer at the Fred Meyer Tacoma/Pacific store, as it is literally a 5-minute walk from my house. Today as I walked past a house on the next block, a rolled-up flyer in the cyclone fence caught my eye. It was about a couple of former Fred Meyer cashiers fired for accidentally handing back customers' checks for $12 and $26, asking that the customers who mistakenly received those checks return to the store to make good on their purchases.
I didn't take the flyer with me, in case by some coincidence that homeowner was actually one of the check-writers. But I remembered the name Juanita Carroll, and as soon as I got home I searched the Internet for some kind of petition or blog post about this lady's predicament. Nothing. I called the store and spoke to a manager, and even offered to pay the amount of the check, but the manager told me that unfortunately this was the store policy, and even if the employee offers to pay the amount, they must still be fired (they are eligible for rehire if they remain active in the union).
That's when I went back to the house where I'd found the flyer. I knocked on the door and explained that I would like to take it with me, once the man had read it just to be sure he wasn't one of those customers. He seemed to find my request rather laughable, but I didn't care. I came home and called the union straightaway. Apparently this has only recently become a problem with Fred Meyer. And it's a problem I really can't understand. Why would you fire an experienced 19-year employee who says she loves her job (that kind of person can't be easy to find -- I'd have to pop happy pills or wear a hidden vibrator to make it through a day as a cashier!) only to have to turn around and go to the expense of hiring and training someone new, someone who might not even last once they got a taste for what it's really like?
I couldn't believe the union didn't have an online petition set up to pressure Fred Meyer corporate to amend or at least reconsider this policy. I couldn't believe they didn't have diaries posted at DailyKos or HuffPo or even our local newspaper, the TNT. I rely routinely on Fred Meyer for many of my shopping needs, but I would boycott them in a heartbeat to get them to change this heartless policy. In today's economic environment, a job loss can literally be life-threatening. I didn't go put my life on the line in Iraq only to come home and see my fellow citizens' security jeopardized not by fanatical terrorists but by greedy corporate policies.
This is not the end of this, but only the beginning.