Low-Wage Walmart Workers Angry Over New Uniform Mandate

Walmart reminds them they can save 10 percent!

Wal-Mart Employees Angered By New Dress Code
On a day when low-wage workers plan strikes in 150 cities because of pay rates and short hours, many Walmart employees have something new to stoke their anger: a changed dress code forcing them to buy new clothing, according to Gawker. And they've been sounding off on internal company online forums.

The "new look" for customer service personnel, as a Walmart.com website page explains, includes "collared navy blue or white shirts, khaki or black pants, capris, skirts or skorts." And, to help ease the burden, as Gawker reports, Walmart has reminded employees that they can buy the products from the store and "apply your 10 percent associate discount for an additional savings," or even get them online. Walmart is paying for the vests it will require employees to wear.

Some employees are apparently unhappy. Walmart workers can leave comments about company policies on an internal website. Someone leaked some of the contents to Gawker. Here are verbatim examples of some alleged comments:

I work 2 jobs Walmart is my part time job but I work these 2 jobs for a reason, to take care of my family. It is pretty bad that my full time job is a administrative assistant in a law office and I can wear jeans there, but I can't wear jeans in a grocery store. This whole mess is just non-sense.

Ive been at Walmart 21 yrs and i tend to keep buying better quality clothing other than the standard polo for a better appearance at work and it seems like its a waste of my money to keep changing the dress code and we are not given any clothing allowance or given 2 shirts for free.

With all due respect to the company, this is more of a financial burden to our family since this is our only source of income with my wife and two kids. We can hardly afford to live on my income now with us having to pay for a new uniform (aside from the vest). It's silly. The uniform we have now works. Why change it?

According to Walmart spokesperson Kory Lundberg, part of the old dress code was khaki trousers, which would still be allowed. The sticking point is blue or white collared shirts.

"We're certainly hearing from our associates," Lundberg told AOL Jobs. But we're [also] hearing from a large number of associates who are looking forward to the new dress code." He said that Walmart began to inform employees in July about the upcoming changes so they would have time to prepare and purchase the shirts.

Although Walmart's average full-time wage is $12.92, according to its corporate website, many workers make well below that number and approximately 40 percent of the company's workers are part-time.

However, many Walmart workers have near-minimum wage incomes, which is why some have complained that updating a wardrobe for work is a burden. "The wages that Walmart pays are competitive with any other retailer out there," Lundberg said. "You can't hire good people if you're not [paying] competitively."

He also said that markets determine wages. However, it would be more accurate to say that markets effectively determine lowest wages, as retail is notorious for being a poorly-paying industry. Companies can choose to pay employees more. For example, Costco starts employees at $11.50 an hour and the average hourly wage is $21.

Walmart's annual report for its most recently completed year showed a profit of more than $16 billion.

> 'Made in America' Walmart Gets Uniform Vests From Middle East

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Every place has a dress code or uniforms stop crying or quit I am sure there are plenty of people who will gladly take your place !!!!!

Yesterday at 12:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

NEED KHAKI PANTS: Please check out your local Humane Society thrift shop if you have one. There is a Humane Society Thrift Shop in North Florida with a TON of khakis to be had.....you will be fulfilling your need and helping the animals as well.

Yesterday at 6:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm so sick of listening to these complaints. I work at Walmart and I've worn a navy blue polo and khaki pants for the last 7 years. The only thing different now is I will wear a vest. No additional cost to me at all. If these employees had been wearing the proper type uniforms all along they wouldn't have anything to complain about

Saturday at 5:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My wife works there and they gave their employees 2 vest FREE and u had to have the pants and shirts from before so get over it and DO WHAT YOUR JOB TELLS YOU. OR QUIT

Wednesday at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Omg quit fussing about a uniform look at it as u have a job and a uniform is part of it I wear a uniform everyday but hey I'm supporting my family if u ain't happy with the uniform quit and shut up

Wednesday at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is another effort for Walmart to put up yet another facade. Walmart knows that they have loyal, committed, hard working employees,who will complain on Social media but keep their silence in the workplace for fear of retribution. I went into my local Walmart the other day and observed a work force that was mortifying. I saw obese,sloppy looking associates with tattoos plastered over their bodies,body piercings that made wince in pain to look at. Bright blue & red hair, and that was just the females.The vast majority looked as though they had been recruited from a half-way house,drug rehab centers,& state mental hospitals. Perhaps Walmart does work with these agencies on Govt. work programs as do other large corporations.Why not ?,it would fit their criteria as state & federal agencies often subsidize the wages of these employees.I think we all know that this behemoth discount retailer will pull out all the stops to pinch a penny on employee compensation.By requiring a more professional attire,it leaves the illusion that these poor folks are taken care of much better than they are.It also temporarily hides the fact of,lower education, cigarette smoking, former drug & alcohol using,mental & physical disabilities,former criminal activities.etc. I commend Walmart for giving these people a chance,however as a community profiteer, they must do more towards civic responsibility,than put a pretty bow on the package, & exploit its labor.

Wednesday at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tluns810's comment

Why does it matter that they are obese?
Also it is against their rules for piercings and colored hair, I just started working there and haven't seen any one like that, maybe its just the store I'm at but so far doesn't seem as bad as people are saying. The dress code hasn't really changed all that much.
A lot of complaints I have seen are just about being asked to do things, being asked to help in other areas which sometimes has to happen, they also don't force you to work any shift but your own and will not call you in on a scheduled day off. They don't seem all that bad to.

Saturday at 10:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

they're right, their pay is competitive with other competitors who don't pay their employees much either. when I go shopping all I want to see is, if I can identify an employee if I need help. as long as they are well groomed and their clothes aren't in tatters, what do I care what they wear? wait, let me correct myself. no spandex for employees who are overweight. I think a vest that identifies you as a worker is enough.

Monday at 1:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Barbara Necker

You should stick with the vests OR give the workers 2 shirts out of your stock, if you want this dress requirement. Trust me, the vests are all the identifier you need. I don't go to your store much, because I don't think you treat your workers well; this dress code add-on just reinforces the way I feel about you already

Anyway, aren't you getting a little big for your britches? Walmart sells cheap goods imported from countries where workers make starvation wages; making employees wear business attire is ridiculous

Monday at 1:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Barbara Necker's comment

Just about anywhere you go there is going to be a dress code, I don't think its much of a big deal, half of that dress code was already in place, the Walmart I just started working at and been shopping at since it opened the people working there have been dressing like that from the start, I don't fond it to be a big deal, if you do it online at the employee site the shirts are really inexpensive.

Saturday at 10:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My Ex worked at walmart for 16 years before the advent of the Super Walmart.She was given 2- or 3 vest type uniforms to wear over her street clothes with no clothing allowance . All associates wore these and it made it easy to identify an associate from a customer. After Super Walmart arrived the vests were left behind . You couldnt at first glance identify an associate from the next person.Today I noticed the vests are back , giving a more cohesive appearance to the associates and store .Thank you Walmart.

September 15 2014 at 12:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Walmart employees needs to become part of the unions that are backing them and stop being scared to stand up and strike for what they believe.

September 14 2014 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to shady.acres's comment

yeah and any raises they get will go into union coffers as 'dues.' sure. i hate unions. they haven't helped anyone the way they say they will.

Tuesday at 8:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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