***Update***: A department manager from a Hobby Lobby store reached out to say that, if a store was forced to close, employees would have to use their “personal paid time off” before dipping into their vacation time. After that, employees would get a percentage of their salary for a limited time (two weeks).
In other words, especially given the company’s size and ownership and stated principles, nothing they’re doing puts the employees’ best interests at heart.
While all other responsible people have put their life on hold, Hobby Lobby stores are still open in states that will allow it. The chain, owned by the evangelical Green family, is refusing to shut down no matter how much harm they could be creating for their employees and customers.
According to a letter posted on Reddit, sent by CEO David Green to all employees and dated March 19, everyone is simply told they may have to “tighten their belts” during this pandemic.
Of course, Green won’t have to worry about tightening his belt. The billionaire has enough money to pay for the Museum of the Bible and the fake artifacts inside. It’s everyone who works for him who stand to suffer.
That letter also includes what I assume is meant to be “inspiration” in the form of a voice that his wife heard in her heard:
In my family, Barbara is the prayer warrior. Today, that title takes on such a different meaning than I ever imagined before because we are at war with this latest virus…
In her quiet prayer time this past week, the Lord put on Barbara’s heart three profound words to remind us that He’s in control. Guide, Guard, and Groom. We serve a God who will Guide us through this storm, who will Guard us as we travel to places never seen before, and who, as a result of this experience, will Groom us to be better than we could have ever thought possible before now.
Great. Everyone’s going to be fine because Barbara had a goddamn dream.
The only press release on the store’s website regarding the outbreak offers nothing but simple information about how the store is coping with COVID-19: More frequent store cleanings. That’s about it. Employees who show symptoms will be asked to self-quarantine at home, though there’s no mention of people who carry the virus without showing symptoms, and no mention of whether employees will be on paid leave.
While the store may be closed in states where governors have mandated it, the chain appears to be open everywhere else, creating the possibility that dozens of people may be shopping there at once. Unlike grocery stores, it’s hard to make the case that yarn and glitter are essential products in a time of crisis.
Rather than being proactive and safe, they’re being reactive and irresponsible.
It’s not surprising, either. This is the same chain that refused to provide comprehensive health insurance for employees because that might allow them to obtain birth control.
They care about greed and God. They don’t care about their employees and they don’t care about the communities their stores are located in. If the virus spreads because they’re not taking proper precautions, at least they’ll make a few more bucks in the process.
Hobby Lobby did not respond to a request for comment for this article. Nor have they responded to anyone questioning their decision on Facebook.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to everyone for the link)