Thursday, March 29, 2007

Circuit City Screws Young Workers

Today I was outraged by this article on the front page of the Daily News. Circuit City is laying off 3,400 workers for the crime of being paid too high a salary. According to the article, after 10 weeks these same workers (one interviewed makes $15 an hour) will be offered their jobs back at minimum wage.

This goes way beyond the pale. These are skilled workers, knowledgeble about the products and brands offered in the store, who will now be replaced by unskilled no-nothings who barely know how to work the cash register. Let's be clear: the reason these workers were well paid is that they were loyal to their company and did their jobs well. Now these predominantly young twenty-somethings -many of whom are paying for college with these jobs - are being thanked for their loyalty and service with a pink slip.

Circuit City explains these layoffs in the article:

"We're taking a number of aggressive actions to improve our cost and expense structure," Philip Schoonover, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Circuit City Stores Inc., said in a written statement.

Here the workers describe their emotions after being laid off:
"This store has probably lost all its good salespeople," (Richard) O'Neal said. "This morning we were all really pissed, but now I laugh about it. What can you do?"
I'll tell you what you can do... In the next 24 hours SFVYD's Executive Board will be voting to advocate a boycott of Circuit City until the company offers their employees back their positions at their previous salaries. Until that happens, we'll be urging consumers young and old all over the country to buy their HDTV's, DVD Players, and Ipods from stores that are friendlier to young employees, like Costco.

I will also be inviting our sister organizations such as LACYD, Stonewall YDs, and our statewide org CYD to join in this boycott.

Stay tuned, and please, spread the word!

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