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Coronavirus In Minnesota: Front Line Retail & Food Industry Employees Protest Working Conditions

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Front line workers for Minnesota-based Target are preparing to walk off the job to protest what they call unsafe working conditions.

"Before the pandemic happened we weren't viewed as real workers," Target worker Adam Ryan, from Virginia, said.

Ryan is with the group Target Workers Unite, that's organizing a nationwide strike on May 1, with captains from 150 stores signed on to participate so far.

Ryan said the group wants enough hazard pay to cover any COVID-19 related health expenses, and limiting foot traffic in stores.

"Ideally just to the workers so we would be the only ones in the stores processing orders for customers rather than allowing them to come in," Ryan said.

Target CEO Brian Cornell spoke on CBS This Morning Tuesday, saying the company was investing in the safety of its workers and guests.

"We have put up [plastic] shields at the checkout lane as you're checking out of our stores," Cornell told Gayle King. "There are decals on the floors making sure people are keeping the six feet of space that is so necessary right now."

On Monday dozens of Caribou Coffee workers held a drive-by protest outside a Caribou store in Roseville, holding up signs and chanting.

They want paid sick leave, hazard pay and PPE.

At Amazon's Shakopee warehouse, more than 50 workers walked off the job early Sunday over concerns about how the company is handled alleged COVID-19 cases at the facility.

The group is also upset about the elimination of unlimited unpaid time off.

"If we're essential workers we should be respected as essential workers," Ryan said.

A spokesperson for Amazon said the group protesting on Sunday was spreading misinformation. They also said the company has increased pay and is providing temperature checks, masks and gloves at all of its sites.

Caribou Coffee said it is giving a 10% pay increase for its team members starting in May and paid time off for eligible employees.

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