On Friday afternoon SuperAmerica employees, members of the Greater Minnesota Worker Center, and St. Cloud State University students all participated in a protest outside of the Super America on 33rd Ave N in St. Cloud.
The protest was over a policy that SuperAmerica has stating that only one employee can work the night shift at a time. This has caused issues in central Minnesota in areas where crime rates tend to be higher.
The group walked around in a circle on the sidewalk with megaphones and signs in hand, yelling chants such as “Safe workers now,” and “No justice, no peace!”
On August 31 at 8 p.m., a robber came into the Super America on 33rd Ave N and assaulted the clerk with a knife, leaving the clerk injured after the robbery.
Steven Philion, professor of Sociology at SCSU, said there needs to be a change in management operations at local gas stations when problems like armed robbery happen frequently.
“The young man who was at that gas station had no one with him and these corporations turn high enough profits where they can afford to have a second person working the night shift. We have tried to contact SuperAmerica on multiple occasions to get things changed, but no one at corporate has responded to our pleas,” Philion said.
SuperAmerica has procedures that night shift employees are supposed to follow if incidents similar to the robbery happen. The company says that employees should protect the money and and call the police if there are any threats to the store or the employee.
“The company is basically saying let the police handle it; that is not a policy to protect the safety of the worker,” Professor Philion said. “We want to go to St. Cloud and Waite Park city councils and demand some sort of policy that ensure the safety of these overnight workers. I remember talking to a woman who worked at a gas station the night of Thanksgiving, she was all by herself, and she was terrified that something was going to happen and that’s the busiest time of the year for a lot of gas stations with people traveling across the state.”
Even community members who have no affiliation with SuperAmerica came out to support the cause.
Ahmed Ali was a bystander at Friday’s protest; he said he wanted to show support for the unfair treatment of employees at gas stations in the area and across the U.S. facing these issues.
DFL candidate for the 6th U.S. committee David Snyder was at the protest supporting the cause.
“How many gas stations have to be robbed before someone decides to make a change?” Snyder said. “It’s all a matter of what their intent is, putting profits over safety? It might be a while before corporate takes a look at making changes.”
Their future plans are to go to city hall and make changes to workers rights at gas stations across central Minnesota and hopefully the community will follow. As for now, the store can still implement their one person night shift policy.