PetSmart employees are once again asking the principal owner/investor of the company, private equity firm BC Partners, for “help securing hazard pay as well as better safety protocols, paid time off and severance benefits and a larger vaccination incentive for employees,” according to a report from Bloomberg.
In July 2020, more than 500 current and former PetSmart employees signed a petition that was sent to BC Partners requesting that the principal owner provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and hazard pay to those required to work, and severance pay to those laid off.
More than a year later, PetSmart employees are once again petitioning BC Partners, stating that conditions haven’t improved in the 12 months since the first petition was presented to the firm.
United for Respect, a worker rights group, has issued a new petition on behalf of PetSmart employees.
“We are still short on supplies and equipment needed to provide quality pet care,” the petition said. “Our schedules are more erratic than ever and wages are still embarrassingly low.”
In a report sent to public investment firms this week, United for Respect accused PetSmart “of providing inadequate training, staffing and personal protective equipment, conditions that led to hospitalizations and deaths of pets and excessive Covid exposure for workers,” Bloomberg reported.
According to the Bloomberg report, “A representative for BC Partners said in a statement that PetSmart has paid nearly $150 million in additional compensation for front-line workers, spent millions of dollars on personal protective equipment and is giving $100 to fully vaccinated employees to help cover expenses like transportation or childcare while getting the shot.”
The new petition stated that BC Partners must do better for PetSmart workers and animals alike, by guaranteeing:
- Quality Jobs for All Frontline Employees: Guaranteed $15 minimum wage, fair scheduling, access to full-time hours, a safe work environment, and a $5/hour essential pay increase.
- Healthcare for All: Provide quality employer-paid healthcare and cover premiums for all employees, including part-timers.
- Pet Care Over Profit: Provide all employees with functional equipment, proper supplies, and adequate staffing and training so we can give animals the caring services they deserve.
- Job Protections: Establish a severance policy for all employees in the event of bankruptcy or change of ownership that would result in layoffs, with at least one week of pay per year of employment, two weeks minimum. Any layoffs should be done in order of reverse seniority and employees should get at least 90 days notice.
- Worker Representation on the Board of Directors: The unique knowledge and perspectives of frontline employees must direct corporate policy making and implementation, to ensure the provision of exceptional pet care and the long-term competitiveness of PetSmart
“We expect BC Partners to show us the same dedication and concern we show every day for our customers and their pets,” the petition said. “We ask that you meet with a committee of frontline workers, chosen by those who’ve signed onto this letter, to discuss our concerns and to start working together to resolve them.”