Companies

  • Smithfield Foods

    Added May 11, 2020

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    Smithfield Foods is a meat-processing company headquartered in Smithfield, Virginia. Smithfield Foods was founded in 1936 and is now the largest pig and pork producer in the world. Smithfield owns over 500 farms in the US and also has contracts with another 2,000 independent farms. Internationally, the company has facilities in Mexico, Poland, Romania, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In 2013 the WH Group of China purchased Smithfield Foods for $4.72 billion, the largest Chinese acquisition of an American company to date.

    • The meatpacking industry has always had a notorious reputation for poor working conditions and Covid-19 has only made this more apparent. Currently meat and poultry employees have among the highest illness rates of all manufacturing employees and are the least likely to report said illnesses for fear of repercussions. It has even been reported that some of the Smithfield locations have been refusing to let their employees use the bathroom, even to wash their hands, which is of the biggest ways to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.
    • A 50-year-old employee at Smithfield’s Sioux Falls plant told USA TODAY that there’s no way to stay 6 feet from co-workers on the production line, in the cafeteria or in the locker room. Further, when he started feeling sick (after multiple employees he worked with tested positive for Covid-19) and approached his supervisor, he was told that “he was ok and needed to work”. Soon after he tested positive for Covid-19. Many workers have shared similar stories, stating that they do not believe Smithfield’s cares about them or their health during this time, only their bottom line.
    • Smithfield’s Sioux Falls Plant shut down its operations on April 12. By this point the plant already had more than 200 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Soon after their numbers swelled to nearly 900 infected employees.

    More info about Smithfield Foods...

  • Stanley Black & Decker

    Added May 13, 2020

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    Stanley Black & Decker is an American manufacturer of hardware and industrial tools. With revenues topping $12B in 2018, Stanley Black & Decker employs over 60,000 workers.

    More info about Stanley Black & Decker...

  • Starbucks

    Added May 13, 2020

    Starbucks

    Starbucks is a publicly traded, multinational chain of coffeehouses and roastery reserves. Founded in 1971 as a small coffee shop in Pike Place Market, the company has since grown to over 30,000 locations in 77 countries. As a nod to their origin, Starbucks is still headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Starbucks employs nearly 300,000 people and generates around $24B in revenue annually.

    • Starbucks came under fire in early June of 2020 when they sent a memo to their employees that they were not allowed to wear Black Lives Matter clothing or accessories to work. Starbucks reasoning was that wearing clothing and accessories highlighting Black Lives Matter could be misunderstood and potentially incite violence. However, this point was quickly contested when employees pointed out that Starbucks does permit employees to wear accessories that promote marriage equality and LGBTQ rights.
    • A week after Starbucks had sent the memo banning Black Lives Matter clothing, they decided to reverse their decision and allow employees to wear clothing of accessories in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement.
    • Starbucks has had other scandals in the past, most notably, another instance of racial injustice that took place in a Philadelphia Starbucks. In 2018, two black men were sitting peacefully in a Starbucks when an employee called the cops on the men as they had “not ordered anything from the store”. When officers arrived, the two men calmly explained to the officer that they were waiting for a third friend to join them. The third friend did indeed arrive shortly after but the officers still arrested the two men on “suspicion of trespassing”.
    • On March 20, 2020, Starbucks announced a generous policy whereby employees in the US and Canada would be paid in full for up to 30 days of absence during the COVID-19 crisis.
    • However, Starbucks did not come around to this position quickly. A Buzzfeed investigation found numerous cases during the crucial time when the virus was spreading throughout the US where employees showed up to work sick and were not only allowed to serve food and drinks to customers, but were also refused leave by management.
    • Employees during these fraught early days of the virus were unable to take the requisite 2-week quarantine period off of work, undoubtedly enabling the spread of the virus to other employees and customers.

    More info about Starbucks...

  • Steelcase

    Added May 13, 2020

    Steelcase

    Steelcase is the largest office furniture manufacturer in the world, with revenues pushing $4B and around 12,000 employees.

    • During the COVID-19 crisis, Steelcase was forced to close plants in four states, laying off workers. On the same day, it announced an $8M stock dividend.
    • This followed a $38M stock buyback that the company initiated in March 2020. Stock buybacks benefit shareholders by boosting a stock price.

    More info about Steelcase...

  • SweetGreen

    Added Apr 24, 2020

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    SweetGreen is a $1.6 billion fast-casual salad chain. Founded in 2007, SweetGreen provides healthy salads and grain bowls that are made in-house from scratch using only the freshest ingredients. SweetGreen has 91 locations throughout the United States.

    • Despite having more than 3,500 employees, SweetGreen managed to apply for and secure a $10 million forgivable Paycheck Protection loan intended for struggling small businesses with less than 500 employees.
    • It should be noted that they returned the money after publicity regarding this loan went viral.

    More info about SweetGreen...

  • The Los Angeles Lakers

    Added Apr 30, 2020

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    The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles. The Lakers are worth an estimated $3.7 billion and are owned by Jeanie Buss.

    • Despite being the eighth most valuable sports team in the world, worth an estimated $3.7 billion, The Lakers Franchise applied for and secured a $4.6 million forgivable Paycheck Protection loan intended for struggling small businesses.
    • It should be noted that they returned the money after publicity regarding this loan went viral.

    More info about The Los Angeles Lakers...

  • Travelodge

    Added Apr 27, 2020

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    Travelodge is a budget motel chain that spans across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, and Asia. Travelodge was one of the first motel chains in the United States after opening their first location in 1940. Now Travelodge has over 400 properties.

    • Travelodge found itself in hot water after it gave homeless families and key worker guests just two hours to leave their properties before shutting about 360 of it's UK hotels. This displacement led to widespread chaos.
    • Although the government’s guidance said hotels, hostels and B&Bs should close due to coronavirus distancing measures, it specifically exempted those accommodating homeless people or key workers. In fact they were told to remain open.
    • Furthermore, when the homelessness minister, Luke Hal, wrote to the chain advising them to re-open, Travelodge ignored the request.

    More info about Travelodge...

  • Tyson Foods

    Added May 9, 2020

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    Tyson Foods is the world’s second largest producer of chicken, beef, and pork. Based in Springdale, AZ, Tyson Foods operates major brands such as Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, and Wright Brand. Tyson Foods employs around 122,000 people and in 2018 ranked 80th on the Fortune 500 list for total revenue, raking in more than $40 billion dollars.

    • The meatpacking industry has always had a notorious reputation for poor working conditions and Covid-19 has only made this more apparent. Currently meat and poultry employees have among the highest illness rates of all manufacturing employees and are the least likely to report said illnesses for fear of repercussions.
    • During Covid-19, Tyson actually implemented faster line speeds at meat processing plants, forcing workers to stand even closer together, often shoulder to shoulder, when Coronavirus was already rampaging through their facilities. Furthermore, Tyson, a billion dollar company, struggled for weeks to secure any sort of PPE equipment for their workers, leaving employees completely vulnerable.
    • Tyson has also announced they are giving out $500 bonuses to frontline workers, which is wonderful, except eligibility for the bonus does depend on attendance. For example, at the Tyson plant in Camilla, the company offered its 2,100 workers a $500 bonus if they worked in April, May and June without missing a single day. As a result, many workers felt encouraged to come to work sick as they wanted to meet the attendance policy for the bonus.
    • Recently, Tyson has implemented protective barriers between workers and has increased it’s short term disability leave to cover 90% of an employees normal pay if an employee is being treated for Coronavirus.

    More info about Tyson Foods...

  • Uber

    Added May 14, 2020

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    Uber is a public U.S. based ridehailing company. Apart from their popular Uber ridesharing service, Uber also offers food delivery (UberEats) and a micromobility platform for users looking to share electric bikes and scooters. The company is based in San Francisco and has operations in over 785 cities worldwide.

    • During the Covid-19 crisis, Uber chose to layoff over 3,700 people over a mass Zoom call. While lay offs are inevitable during this time, Uber showed that they did not care enough about their workers to lay them off in a more considerate manner.
    • Uber is used to being under the spotlight for immoral business practices. Over the years Uber has been highly criticized for their unfair treatment of drivers, uncomfortable company culture (leading to multiple sexual assault allegations), increasing traffic congestion, disrupting the taxicab business, and for their aggressive strategy in dealing with regulators and city officials. In fact, if you visit the Uber Wikipedia page it reads like a rap sheet for all the times Uber has found themselves in hot water.

    More info about Uber...

  • Vice Media

    Added Apr 18, 2020

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    Vice Media is a US-based digital media and broadcasting company. Vice is a privately-held company worth over $6 billion.

    • A 2018 New York Times expose uncovered a pervasive culture of sexual misconduct at the company.
    • The Times reported on numerous hushed settlements resulting from sexual harrassment and defamation claims by female Vice employees.
    • Other allegations include altering a female reporter's interview without her knowledge in order to directly imply that she desired sexual relations with her interviewee, and multiple cases of sexual harrassment claims being quashed by Vice's HR department.

    More info about Vice Media...

  • Wave Life Sciences

    Added May 3, 2020

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    Wave Life Sciences is a public, pre-clinical biopharmaceutical company. According to their website, they “focus on delivering transformational therapies for patients with serious, genetically-defined diseases”. Wave Life Sciences was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Singapore.

    • Despite being a publicly traded company, Wave Life Sciences applied for and secured a $7.2 million forgivable Paycheck Protection loan intended for struggling small businesses.
    • It should be noted that they returned the money after publicity regarding this loan went viral.

    More info about Wave Life Sciences...

  • Wells Fargo

    Added Apr 15, 2020

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    Wells Fargo is a financial services company with headquarters in San Francisco, CA. Wells Fargo has over 8,000 branches throughout the world, and annual revenue of over $85B in 2019.

    • In 2016, Wells Fargo was found to have instituted a program to encourage employees to open new accounts for customers. Targets were set at an unattainable level, such that employees began opening new accounts under customers' names without their knowledge.
    • Ultimately over 3.5 million accounts were opened in this manner.
    • Wells Fargo employees were also found to have opened auto insurance policies for unwitting customers
    • Litigation against Wells Fargo for this scandal is ongoing.

    More info about Wells Fargo...