Workers at Target stores are struggling to pay their bills after the company cut the total amount of employee working hours in preparation for raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, according to a report from CNN.
“I got that dollar raise but I’m getting $200 less in my paycheck,” said Heather, who works at a Florida branch. She began working 40 hours per week but is now offered less than 20.
“I have no idea how I’m going to pay rent or buy food,” she continued.
Target committed to raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 in a statement on September 25, 2017.
Senator Bernie Sanders (D., Vt.) has made the $15 minimum wage a tenet of his campaign. He has blasted large companies such as McDonald’s and Walmart for refusing to pay their employees $15 per hour.
Last year was Target’s best business year since 2005. Sales were up five percent and company stocks were up four percent since 2017, prompting Target CEO Brian Cornell to laud the company’s “successful, durable model.”
Meanwhile, cuts in worker hours have affected employees’ eligibility for health benefits. Employees who work less than 30 hours per week are deemed ineligible for company health benefits at the start of Target’s spring enrollment period.
“Target worked me hard from mid-July of 2018 to February 2019, right before my medical coverage was about to kick in,” said former employee Caren Morales of Diamond Bar, California, who worked between 35-40 hours per week. Once the enrollment date approached, she said, “They cut my hours right then.”
Morales quit several months later, saying she couldn’t afford to pay for her daughter’s day care.
It was not immediately clear why many workers have seen their hours cut, although the trend may partially be attributable to the introduction of new store management methods.
“We needed to change the way we operate in the store to create a better, more inviting experience for our guests,” commented Target COO John Mulligan. The changes include elimination of some backroom shifts and the introduction of self-checkout machines, along with specialization of some jobs to cover a specific department instead of an entire store.
Several other giant retail stores have also recently decreased working hours, according to statistics from the Bureau of Labor.