Sick at New Seasons: “At 10 points you can be terminated.”

A former employee of the Mercer Island New Seasons describes how the anti-union grocery chain’s attendance points system puts pressure on staff to work sick:

Once you use all your protected sick time and your paid time off you get three points for missing a day. At 10 points you can be terminated.

You’re told not to go to work sick. But you have to. I’ve seen people come in and go to the bathroom two or three times and I pulled them aside and they said, “I have diarrhea.” Unfortunately, I did that because I was sick. If I missed another day I was gonna be let go.

There were points where three or four people in my department were like, “Guys you might want to stay away from me for a bit. I’m gonna try to stay away from food as much as possible. Because I’m getting a cold.”

At a union store: “No concern.”

Our source recently started working for a union grocery store. And the contrast is stark. When he got sick he was encouraged to do the right thing and stay home – even though he was still on probation:

I haven’t been there long enough to be able to use [paid] sick time, unfortunately, but last Monday I just couldn’t go into work. My fiance looked at me and said, “You look like a frog, stay home,” cause my throat had swollen up.

The next day I went in and I wasn’t feeling great so I was doing dishes. My co-workers were like, “Let us know if you need to go home. We’ll be fine.” At about 6:30 I was like, “I am feeling awful. I am going to go home.”

Again, there was no concern. There’s no point system. It was like, “You are obviously sick. Go home.” The only question that was asked of me by my supervisor when I got back to work was, “Are you feeling better?”