Business

Walmart offers dumped workers a tissue

It’s been a rough few weeks for Sam’s Club workers. First came the announcement that ten Sam’s Club stores in the United States would close and the 1,500 employees who worked there could lose their jobs. Then, yesterday, Walmart announced they would be laying off 11,200 workers. Most of those being laid off demonstrate products in the stores.

Walmart’s spokesperson made it clear that this wasn’t about the economy, or the employees performance, rather, they were outsourcing the jobs to a company called Shopper Events who’s only purpose is to demonstrate products in Walmart stores.

Walmart has suggested that the 10,000 employees they are firing can apply for a job with Shopper Events, who will be hiring roughly 10,000 employees to fill the gap left by the lay off. It sure sounds a lot like Walmart is asking 10,000 of their employees to reapply for their own jobs.

Workers report that Walmart called them into mass meetings where they were offered boxes of tissues and told they were no longer needed by the world’s largest private employer.

The mass layoffs raise serious questions such as whether or not older and more senior workers were targeted for lay off. Why hasn’t Walmart made a clearer path to employment with Shopper Events for these 11,000 associates – which they clearly have the power to do? And for workers hired by the outsourced company, what kind of jobs will Shoppers Events provide to the new applicants? And, most startling of all, why is Walmart telling workers they must agree not to pursue age discrimination claims in order to qualify for severance pay?

All of this as Walmart execs sashay across North America touting the world’s largest corporation as a model of corporate social responsibility. Doesn’t CSR include a serious committment to human rights and the ethical treatment of workers? Old habits die hard, I guess.

 

Viva la resistance,
Viva la circle,

Mike

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