Random Musings
Saturday, January 17, 2004
Workers Assail Night Lock-Ins by Wal-Mart

Looking back to that night, Michael Rodriguez still has trouble believing the situation he faced when he was stocking shelves on the overnight shift at the Sam's Club in Corpus Christi, Tex.

It was 3 a.m., Mr. Rodriguez recalled, some heavy machinery had just crushed his ankle, and he had no idea how he would get to the hospital.

The Sam's Club, a Wal-Mart subsidiary, had locked its overnight workers in, as it always did, to keep robbers out and, as some managers say, to prevent employee theft. As usual, there was no manager with a key to let Mr. Rodriguez out. The fire exit, he said, was hardly an option — management had drummed into the overnight workers that if they ever used that exit for anything but a fire, they would lose their jobs.

I have sympathy for Mr. Rodriguez, but I'm really skeptical that using the fire exit for medical emergencies was prohibited. He claims that he was "locked in" and couldn't get to the hospital, but really...the fire exit was available to him.

If Wal-Mart had fired him for using it in a medical emergency I think they'd have had a massive lawsuit on their hands.

That's said I do agree that Wal-Mart should have somebody on-hand who has the keys.


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