Economics/Class Relations

“The Great Resignation” Is a Great Exaggeration

By Ann Larson, The Nation

Workers are quitting their jobs in record numbers, but it’s not a turning point for labor power.

In November of last year, I was managing the checkout area of a large grocery store in Utah when a 22-year-old bagger quit on the spot. It was a busy night a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. Customers wanted to get in and out quickly while my exhausted colleagues and I were urging the clock to tick a little faster. Staff turnover had always been high, but a coworker walking out in the middle of a shift was a first.

The employee, whose name I can’t even remember, had only been at the store a few weeks. She was bagging for a 60-year-old cashier I’ll call Layla, who left her previous job in a drug store after a customer pulled a knife on another worker and demanded money. Layla thought the grocery business might be safer. The bagger said something to the older woman, who looked confused and then glanced in my direction.

“I submitted a request to work only after 4 o’clock,” the woman said as she approached me. “But twice this week I’ve been scheduled to come in at 3.” I explained that I had nothing to do with the schedule. “I’m just the night supervisor,” I said. “If you call the scheduling manager tomorrow, she’ll probably give you what you want.”

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