Mall employees face pressure during weekend storm

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Some Huntington Mall employees said they faced pressure to make it to work during the weekend snowstorm.

 

The mall opened on schedule Friday but closed early at 1 p.m. and stayed closed Saturday due to weather conditions. The mall re-opened with normal hours Sunday.

 

Chrissy Pauley, Claire’s interim assistant manager said she believes the mall waited too late to close Friday.

 

“It was unsafe to go out, so the fact that the mall did not close is almost sickening,” Pauley said. “The fact that they are willing to put workers’ safety on the line is just wrong.”

 

Pauley said this caused problems for several of Claire’s employees.

 

“One of the employees at our store has to use public transportation and this employee was scheduled to open,” Pauley said. “Because the mall waited too long to close he almost missed his ride home.”

 

Pauley feels the mall waited to make the decision based on profits.

 

“I understand that the mall has to make money in order for us to still have our jobs,” Pauley said. “But I also know that money means nothing when you are putting people’s safety on the line.

 

Pauley said she feels improvements should be made in the way the mall communicates with employees.

 

“As of right now, Facebook and word of mouth are the only ways employees know if the mall is closing,” Pauley said. “I feel like the mall needs to contact each store manager with information concerning closings.”

 

Pauley said the mall can fine stores for failing to open unless management specifically states they will not.

 

“This is definitely a pressure for employees,” Pauley said. “I also feel another big pressure is that some companies are required to stay open unless all major department stores have closed. “

 

Not all businesses operate by the mall’s closing procedures. Cinemark employee, Celia Morales said the theater closes based solely on the general manager’s decision.

 

Morales said she believes Cinemark takes employees into consideration when making these decisions.

 

“Although when it comes to the mall, I do believe they think of money a lot of the time rather than they do their employees,” Morales said. “I see a lot of my friends that work in the mall that have to go through with driving in these hazardous conditions to get to work when it’s not even worth rising their own lives.”

 

However, Morales said she feels the mall’s decision to open Sunday was justified.

 

“The roads for today aren’t as hazardous, so yes I believe it is alright that they opened back up,” Morales said. “Especially because I know several people have had cabin fever over the last 48 hours and will venture out on the roads.

 

The Huntington Mall was unavailable for comment due to weekend office hours.

 

Clara Maynard can be contacted at [email protected].

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