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Dollar General Manager In Tampa Fired After Viral TikTok Videos

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TAMPA, FL — A top-performing Dollar General manager in Tampa said she recently lost her job after exposing the challenging work conditions she and many colleagues have to deal with daily.

“A lot of people don’t understand what it’s like to work for this company. I, however, have been employed with this company in my position for three years,” she posted in her first TikTok video that elevated her to viral status with more than 90,000 views.

Mary Gundel, the former manager, said it was a customer who criticized workers for being “lazy” that prompted her highly-viewed video series titled “Store Manager Life” on March 28.

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“After three years of busting my a–, six days a week, 50-60 hours a week dedicating my life to this job, never seeing my kids, barely making it home for dinner, to hear customers say that we’re lazy, it really got me heated,” she said.

Gundel claims that when she took over a Tampa-area Dollar General as a manager in December she was given 198 hours of budgeted labor that was ultimately reduced to 130 hours.

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“That took away a full-time position,” she said.

According to Gundel, less manpower led to an increased workload for employees already stretched thin and struggling to keep up with the demands of the job, which often resulted in piled-up boxes along aisles, bare shelves and cluttered walkways.

Four days after posting the videos to TikTok, Gundel was fired from her job. She said it was never her intent to bash the company. She just wanted to bring awareness to how hard employees work.

“I just had to speak out. It really hurts when customers talk smack about employees and store managers about how they don’t do their jobs,” she said.

Prior to her April 1 firing, Gundel had received numerous recognitions and awards within Dollar General, including for being “in the top 5 percent of the entire company,” she said. At one point, Dollar General’s Vice President Connie Droge even recognized Gundel via social media for her performance and dedication.

“I was never a disgruntled employee. I was always a good little worker bee who did what I was told,” she said.

However, her departure from the company was a blessing in disguise, she said.

“I am happy. I’m smiling. I am now stress-free, and it’s time for me to start making some phone calls,” she said.

In a statement to the New York Times, Dollar General said it provides many ways for its employees to make sure their voices are heard, including through surveys and the company’s open-door policy.

“We are disappointed any time an employee feels that we have not lived up to these goals and we use those situations as additional opportunities to listen and learn,” a portion of the statement reads.

In Dec. 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor criticized Dollar General for continuing “to put workers at risk.” Since 2016, the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed more than $3.3 million in penalties in 54 inspections at Dollar General locations nationwide. Typical violations have included blocked electrical panels, obstructed exits, forklift, housekeeping and sanitation violations.

“Dollar General has a long history of disregarding safety measures to prevent serious injury or death in the event of a fire or other emergency,” Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker said in a news release at the time. “This company’s troubled history of workplace safety violations must come to an end, and OSHA will make every effort to hold them accountable for their failures.”

Since her firing, Gundel has continued to post videos criticizing her former employer’s work environment. She is also promoting a national walkout at Dollar General on May 2 and a petition that supports a union for Dollar General workers.

In the meantime, Gundel says she’s also recently started driving for Uber and Lyft to earn money.

Based in Tennessee, Dollar General operates about 17,000 stores and 17 distribution centers around the nation. It employs more than 150,000 workers around the country.

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