Walmart Organizers Claim Victory In Little-Heralded Announcement

Walmart was quick to dismiss the Black Friday strikes at their stores as a failure, claiming it had record Black Friday sales regardless. But last week, Walmart's U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon made an announcement that led some Walmart organizers to believe they were finally handed a victory.

At the National Retail Federation's annual convention last week, Simon announced that the store was planning to make it easier for associates to work more hours, if they wanted. That got little coverage in the press, which focused on Walmart's pledge to hire 100,000 veterans and sell more Made in U.S.A. products.

Derrick Plummer, a spokesman for Making Change at Walmart, the campaign to improve conditions at the chain, said the announcement was "no coincidence," following months of campaigning by OUR Walmart, the union-backed advocacy group. In a written statement, Plummer called it "a victory for the nearly half a million Walmart workers who will be affected" and "a key victory for a cause championed from the very beginning of OUR Walmart."

Giving part-timers "first shot" at full-time

One of the most common grievances from Walmart employees has been that they are unable to work the number of hours they would like. Workers like Charlene and Greg Fletcher (pictured above) say they want to work full-time, but Walmart gave them just 32 hours in a good week.

(An employee at Walmart needs to work an average of at least 34 hours a week in order to be eligible for health benefits after 180 days on the job. Part-timers are eligible after a year, and only if they work an average of 30 hours a week.)

More: Walmart Hiring Plan Excludes Nearly 1 Million Unemployed Veterans

Walmart spokesman Kory Lunberg denied that the strikes last November had any role in the decision. "I think our president and CEO Bill Simon said it best," he remarked. "He's tired of retail jobs being put down, and retail workers. It's an opportunity to underscore the importance that associates play at Walmart. One big thing that Walmart offers is opportunity."

At the press conference, Simon said that the policy-change was in response to negative press that retail jobs, and in particular Walmart jobs, had received. He explained that Walmart is making its scheduling more transparent, so that associates could add more hours with greater ease. The world's largest retail chain is also developing a system, Simon added, to alert its associates to full-time openings at their store, or nearby ones, and will be giving those part-time employees the "first shot" at getting those jobs.

More: Walmart Black Friday Strike: Could It Slay The Retail Giant?

"We're all tired of retail jobs being put down, as if retail workers can't judge for themselves what a good job is," Simon declared at the conference. "There are some fundamental misunderstandings about jobs in retail, and we need to do a better job of explaining what opportunities we have to offer."

Walmart spokesman Lunberg couldn't say exactly what this new system of transparency and visibility would look like, however, stating that "we're still putting the final touches on that," but workers would likely see the improvements within six months.

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Phil Collins

Walmart and it shameless "Pennies for Veterans" campaign.

January 29 2013 at 8:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There well came a time that wal-mart well regreat what they have done to the employee that made that company what it is .From the top to the bottom RIP SAM you tryed.

January 27 2013 at 9:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I worked for walmart for 9 years and 1 day i just started making $12.00 and they let me go for something about my discount card .But an asst. manage bought tires for ex -husband ex not husband and thats ok just becouse she took the tires home first as a gift . They came up with rules for them and rules for the employee This not how Sam set up this company there was 5 rules that Sam run his company with and they are gone. It has been so long I can not remember the 5 rules.When I first started to work for Wal-mart it was a place to work now it is a pay check management don't care so the employee don't care
Wal-mart 1299 Cottonwood Does anyone of the walmarts run like SAM went them to or is it just Run.

January 27 2013 at 9:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Welcome MSGT

To all you people who say you quit shopping at Wal-Mart.........guess what? They don't care. In fact they are glad you don't shop in their stores any more. They are tired of your baseless complaints. They are tired of you trying to get something free. Get a life and go to work.

January 26 2013 at 6:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was disgusted to see a supervisor telling a cart person that he needed to clean up after the homeless person had just ...well relieved himself by the baskets. I was appalled and stated that it is a health hazard and the supervisor told me to mind my own business and then I found out the young man was fired because "I" interferred. I will never shop there unless I have no other resources.

January 26 2013 at 12:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sorry, too little, too late. I stopped shopping at Walmart when we started hearing about the way they treat their employees. I've discovered that Target is better and will continue shopping there.

January 25 2013 at 8:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

When I heard an average $420,000 is spent on food stamps per store per month because walmart would not let their workers put in enough time to qualify for health care I started cutting back on my trips to their store. Then they said they would make more work part tiem when Abaama care kicked in which made me decide that I would stop going there al together. Maybe others did the same, I'm happy for the workers.

January 25 2013 at 6:52 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

its time to face the facts unless you get a job with the employer wanting to enhance the workplace and give fair benefits to the worker we will have places like wal-mart who just rape the public and especially take advantage of their help. maybe its time to boycot wal-mart...

January 25 2013 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So many people complain about Wallyworld's policies about hiring, pay and hours. I do not care what ones education level is, you take a job stocking shelves it dose not matter if you have any kind of degree, you are still stocking shelves at the bottom of the ladder. Same with other stores and Mom and Pop shops. Just be glad you have a job.

January 25 2013 at 4:33 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I don't know anyone that still shops at WM. I mean, seriously????/

January 25 2013 at 3:48 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Judy's comment
Waldo Flotney

What an inane statement. Based on the sheer number of WM customers, you HAVE to know someone who shops there! In fact, if you ever leave your den, you, probably, know 'many someones'. If you can't post something useful, please don't bother.

January 25 2013 at 4:34 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

I truly love shopping at WM (WalMart) they have so much to offer & not everyone is wealthy to shop at other high price stores. I want you to know that you now know someone who shops there, nice to meet you

January 25 2013 at 4:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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