Dollar General Worker Speaks Out About "Dangerous" Understaffing
The retailer's employees have been rallying against unsafe conditions.
Over the past few years, Dollar General stores have popped up in seemingly every corner of the U.S. The discount chain now has over 19,000 locations around the country—making it the largest retailer in terms of its physical presence. But Dollar General's incredible growth may be backfiring, as some say the retailer lacks the necessary amount of employees to staff all of these stores. In fact, the company's own associates have spoken out about the problem. Read on to find out why one Dollar General worker is now saying that the understaffing issues are "dangerous."
A Dollar General worker is speaking out about understaffing.
The Union of Southern Service Workers (USSW) posted a video to their TikTok account @raiseupthesouth on June 1, where they speak to a Dollar General worker about the retailer's issue with understaffing.
"When I first became a lead, my manager was out of town. My DM [district manager] didn't send extra help for us, so I would have to open the store by myself," the employee says.
He also tells the USSW that according to Dollar General's policies, there are supposed to be at least two workers closing the store.
"But in the case that a co-worker is either sick or have something important going on within their family life—if they leave, I have to literally stay here and keep the store open by myself at night," the worker explains.
He says it is "dangerous" for him.
In the caption of their video, the USSW wrote that this is just "one of the many health and safety issues that Dollar General disregards when it comes to their workers."
According to the organization, understaffing to the level where there is just one worker in the store by themselves is a major problem that creates unsafe working conditions—something the Dollar General employee very much agrees with.
"When it comes down to it, it's a lot of things as far as safety-wise that can definitely be fixed," the worker says, noting that one of his biggest concern is having to keep the store open by himself at night.
"I feel like that's dangerous as me being a male. But it's even more dangerous for a female. That gets overlooked a lot," he adds.
Best Life reached out to Dollar General about the worker's complaints, and we will update this story with their response.
Dollar General employees have been railing against these issues.
It's not just one employee's experience either. At the end of May, Dollar General employees and allies started demonstrating outside the company's headquarters in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, before the annual shareholder meeting to protest unsafe conditions, CNN reported.
According to the news outlet, data from the non-profit group Gun Violence Archive indicates there have been 49 people killed and 172 people injured at Dollar General stores since 2014. And in 2020, a CNN investigation revealed that at least six of the company's own employees had died in armed robberies since 2016.
"Dollar General continues to expose its employees to unsafe conditions at its stores across the nation," Doug Parker, the assistant secretary for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA), said in a May 23 statement.
They've also said the retailer has been cutting hours.
When Best Life reached out to Dollar General about reports of unsafe store conditions in the past, the company said that it is "committed to providing a safe work environment for its associates and shopping experience for its customers."
A worker in Michigan told the news outlet the cuts started a year ago, while others in the Midwest said their hours were cut at the beginning of 2023.
"The morning shift is always the worst, because you spend the entire morning as the only person in the store," the Michigan employee said, adding that workers then have to choose between unloading inventory like they're supposed to and helping customers.