Target raised wages. Then it cut workers’ hours and doubled their workload

By Micheal Sainato

February 27, 2020

Adam Ryan, 31, has worked at Target in Christiansburg, Virginia, for three years. He works additional jobs whenever he’s able to, but is regularly scheduled only 20 hours per week at Target, despite having open availability.

“I have to live with my family because I can’t afford rent on my own. I don’t have health insurance. I’ve had a rotting tooth in my mouth for years that I haven’t been able to receive treatment. I’ve applied for Medicaid in Virginia and every time I’m told I make too much money, and Target has told me I don’t qualify for their benefits because I don’t get enough hours,” said Ryan, who is also an organizer with Target Workers Unite, an independent initiative of Target workers.

He makes $13 an hour, the hourly minimum wage at Target since June 2019, which is scheduled to increase to $15 an hour by the end of 2020.

But Ryan and several other Target workers have noted a drastic reduction in scheduled hours and significant increases in workloads as Target has increased their minimum wage and rolled out a “modernization plan” in 2019 to increase efficiency. They think that broader influences in the retail sector are responsible for their plight – notably, the actions of their hard-charging rival Amazon.

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