Workers demand safety at 7-Eleven

WW photo: Garrett Dicembre7-Eleven workers in Buffalo, N.Y., led a march and speakout on Aug. 30 demanding an end to unsafe working conditions.

For many hours each day, workers are required to work a store alone, keeping the owners’ costs down, while the threats that the workers face rise. Every day, the workers are confronted with harassment and threats of violence. Last winter, a 7-Eleven clerk was raped, beaten and robbed while working alone in the store at 5 a.m.

7-Eleven’s regional management has refused to accept the workers’ petition for safety measures, or the community’s concern. These demands include putting guards on the overnight shifts and hiring more overnight staff. Management reacted to the initial protests and petition by either firing or cutting the hours of workers who spoke up.

Chanting “When workers’ lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up! Fight back!” and “Workplace violence has got to go!” the protesters marched through the busy Buffalo Art Festival, ending outside a 7-Eleven store to hold a rally.

The rally connected the demand for an end to workplace violence and the national struggle of low-wage workers with talks addressing a livable wage and placards that read “Black Lives Matter at Work!” and “7-Eleven: Value Workers Over Property! Protect People Not ­Products!”