From Reddit: Walmart sure knows its customers.
From Reddit: Walmart sure knows its customers.
The “new look” calls for employees to wear a navy blue or a white polo shirt and khaki or black pants or skirts. It also requires the return of the Walmart vest, but the company will pay for that.
The new dress code and the employee backlash were first reported by Gawker.
At issue is whether the new rules about what employees can wear amount to a “uniform” or a “dress code.” The U.S. Department of Labor says companies must pay for a "uniform," but not clothes required to comply with a "dress code."
So is it legal for Walmart to require its employees to pay for a polo shirt and pants of a certain color?
According to one legal expert, Walmart employees who are unhappy about having to pay up may have an uphill battle. Federal Advocacy Coordinator at the National Employment Law Project, Judy Conti, told The Guardian that what Walmart is doing is legal.
“When an employer selects clothing you could wear anywhere else, they are not required to pay for it,” Conti said. “Black or khaki pants – it doesn’t come more basic than that. White or navy blue shirt: now, maybe you don’t wear white or maybe you don’t wear navy, but I’ll bet you wear one of them.”
Heidi Moore of The Guardian tells Yahoo Finance she thinks Walmart is asking too much of employees who already make too little.
“It is pretty much an egregious issue… it’s a huge chunk of their take-home pay and Walmart employees have been complaining for years - and even staging protests and walk-outs – that they are not paid enough, that they’re not paid a living wage.”
Walmart says its average full-time hourly wage in the United States is $12.92. The company says employees are free to buy the clothes anywhere, however, Walmart also has extended an offer for employees to buy the clothes from Walmart for a 10% discount. If employees buy dress-code appropriate clothes (2 shirts and 2 pairs of pants) from the company's own website, that would add up to abour $48, after the company discount of 10%, which Moore says is "tiny" compared to other retailers' discounts.
"If you work at any other store, whether it’s Macy’s (M) or Club Monaco, Urban Outfitters, you get 50% discounts, sometimes 60% discounts, so it’s also pretty chintzy on that front,” she said.
More From Huff Po:
Walmart workers are apparently not too happy about having Walmart tell them how to dress, and now labor activists are getting involved.
Richard Reynoso, a Walmart employee working in a southern California store, sent a letter to Walmart’s corporate headquarters on Monday, claiming that he couldn’t afford to comply with a new company dress code that takes effect on September 29. It was written on letterhead with the logo of OUR Walmart, a union-backed organization advocating for Walmart workers.
Under the new code, workers will have to a wear a collared blue or white shirt and black or khaki pants, along with a Walmart vest the company will provide. Employees can use clothes they already own or buy new clothes anywhere they want, but they have to pay for the shirts and pants out of their own pockets.
Reynoso wrote that he makes between $800 and $900 a month and asked the company to cover the cost of buying the new clothes he needs.
“The sad truth is that I do not have $50 laying around the house to spend on new uniform clothes just because Walmart suddenly decided to change its policy,” he wrote. “If I have to go out of pocket for these new clothes, I’m going to have to choose which bill to skip.”
Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg cautioned against giving too much weight to Reynoso's letter. He said the company decided to roll out the dress code in advance of the busy holiday season. Workers and customers had told the company that shoppers couldn’t distinguish between store employees and customers wearing blue T-shirts and khakis. Walmart had gotten "a lot of feedback" from workers, Lundberg said, but that most of it has been positive.
“We always want to hear from our associates, it makes us a better company," Lundberg wrote in an email to HuffPost. "I find it odd that this letter came from the Washington DC office of the UFCW and not from California, where the associate who signed it is from. I think that context helps most reasonable people better understand the letter.”
Reynoso's complaints echo those of Walmart workers in an internal forum, Gawker reported .
"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?" one worker wrote in the forum, according to Gawker.
Several employees also vented their frustration to Business Insider, including one who complained: "In the time I have been at Wal-Mart I have gone through four to five dress code changes. This one is by far the weakest and most pathetic attempt to gain customers back."
On Reddit, reaction to the dress code changes were mixed, with some commenters saying they looked forward to having more clothing options and others writing that it "sucks."
Workers can buy the new clothes they need at Walmart using their employee discount, the company noted in an internal announcement about the dress code leaked to Gawker by a Walmart employee.
“Walmart was very smart” in picking a new dress code for which it’s not legally required to foot the bill, according to Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project, a think tank focused on labor issues. Companies can force workers to shell out for clothes required for their jobs, as long as that clothing can be worn elsewhere, Conti said. Businesses are only legally required to pay for branded shirts and pants or clothes that are so outrageous they would be difficult to wear outside of work -- like a bright-orange shirt for example.
“There is nothing illegal here, it is not unprecedented, but is it really necessary?" Conti said. "It’s one more cost they’re asking the country’s lowest-wage workforce to absorb.”
She added that the company could go a long way in quelling the outrage by providing the clothes to workers free of charge. Walmart made $4.09 billion in profits last quarter.
Labor activists and workers have targeted Walmart in recent years for paying low wages and subjecting workers to erratic schedules with unreliable hours. Full-time Walmart workers make $12.92, on average, or nearly $27,000 a year, according to the company’s website. Advocates argue that most Walmart workers are making even less, given that the Walmart figure doesn’t include part-time workers.
A 2013 analysis from House Democrats found that one Walmart in Wisconsin costs taxpayers $900,000 a year because workers’ wages are so low that they have to rely on various public assistance programs.
Walmart has also been suffering from issues other than bad PR. The slow economic recovery, combined with cuts to government benefit programs, means that low-income Americans -- Walmart’s core customers -- have less money to spend. The retail giant is also facing competition online and from dollar stores and drug stores. The company’s U.S. sales have fallen in 12 of the past 20 quarters at stores open more than a year, according to Ken Perkins, the head of Retail Metrics, a retail data firm.
Retail juggernaut Walmart maintains an internal website for employees only. There, Walmart workers are free to bitch anonymously to executives. Sometimes, these comments are leaked to us.
Walmart has instituted a new mandatory dress code for employees. Last month, Walmart HR executive Barbara Simone took to the internal website to explain the new dress code rules to employees, in an extremely cheery fashion. One Walmart employee was nice enough to send us Barbara's dress code posts, which are below. You'll notice that Walmart employees—who are notoriously low-paid, even though they work for the richest family in America—are required to purchase their own new uniforms.
For inexplicable reasons, Walmart employees are allowed to leave anonymous comments [correction: not anonymous on the WM site, but the names have been removed here] on internal postings like these. Below is a small sampling of a couple of days worth of employee comments on the dress code posts. They provide a good window into the opinions of workers who are mostly kept silent. The Walmart employee who sent us this information told us, "I believe Walmart is placing yet another financial burden upon the workers who have to now purchase a new wardrobe on our poverty wages. I do hope that media attention will cause the company to either set up a hardship fund to help us pay for this, or even better, do away with it all together. I believe these comments will give you and your readers great insight into the problems with this corporation."
WM Associate 29 Aug 2014
I sent an email to our wonderful new CEO because he said he was "listening" and wanted feedback well guess what? No one is listening to the associates or the customers for that matter not even him. Lets face it wal-mart is not a family anymore and they are not customer center. They don't care as song as they are collecting their paychecks and bonuses. We, the ones that do the physical work, will be the ones to continue to suffer and our poor customers. I used to absolutely love my job and now I pray every night that I can find another one and leave this one. 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.
WM Associate 29 Aug 2014
i have to agree with many of the negative comments I liked this company in the beginning but it seems they are out of touch with employees or there are to many "leaders"who really are not concerned with employees. In pharmacy we have had a light out for over a year, the heat is oppressive, we can not have water unless it is a small pointy paper cup with warm water from the sink. The counters are uncomfortably low and when ringing customers out causes so much back pain I personally have had customers comment at how uncomfortable the position we stand in to ring orders is. Now more money which I like many others just don't have to buy clothes and a hot vest. I understand that customers come first but I am a customer also and so are my friends and family. It is difficult to be great at your job when you feel so disregarded and expendable
WM Associate 29 Aug 2014
Management will be required to wear these vests as well right? Hmmmm
WM Associate 29 Aug 2014
barbara simone you've seen that 99.9% of the associates have an issue with the new dress code. too expensive too hot/cold doesn't address the problem uncomfortable to work in/not appropriate for some work etc when will you admit you and the big fish at walmart were wrong and scrap this busy work project that you and others are using to justify your big paychecks...every few months you guys dream up something new to torture the associates with...let us just get on with our work ...making you more money ... don't worry ...you'll still collect your big paychecks
I was an assistant manger for over 6 years until I was pushed to the point of stepping down ( and there was no resoluttion to the open door)!!! I know how hourly feel with no help and low pay scale and often there were unrealistic goals ( I can honestly relate)... I read a lot of the posts and we do need an affordable cost to the dress code cost of the shirts and pants. I have a sick husband and am the sole bread and bring home the bacon winner. Thank you and I really do love my new store!
WM Associate 29 Aug 2014
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.
WM Associate 28 Aug 2014
Working conditions at my store are atrocious. There is little coverage in any dept. to provide anything close to decent customer service. CSS' at this store cover money center, run registers and many other tasks because the staffing/hours given to associates are mediocre- I am one of them. For ten years I gave my all but my efforts and voice are ignored. My complaints as well as other associates' seem to not matter one bit. Our registers and other equipment are slow and unreliable. I do not see how bringing back the vests as if we were living in 1994 will change anything. There are real problems to solve in our stores.
WM Associate 28 Aug 2014
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?
The dress code includes white or navy collared shirts with khaki or black pants, close-toed shoes and an updated royal blue Wal-Mart-branded vest. The company, which is covering the cost of only the vest, has compiled a list of acceptable garments on its website.
Wal-Mart human resources executive Barbara Simone informed employees of the new requirements, which take effect on Sept. 29, on an internal website.
Not everyone was upset about the changes, however.
Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg said employee feedback was important to the company.
"We always want to hear feedback from our associates — their ideas, their thoughts, their input," he said. "Hearing what's on their minds makes us a better company."
We have Walmart and Britian has Tesco....ugh.
From Yahoo: REUTERS/Paul Hackett
On Monday, the new CEO of Tesco, Dave Lewis, sent a message to all employees asking them to email him directly if they had any complaints or suggestions about how to improve the chain.
Tesco has about 500,000 staffers, so we bet Lewis' inbox is full to bursting right now. We know this because several Tesco workers emailed Business Insider, too. We've excerpted some of their emails below.
And it's as bad as you think, judging by their cries of anguish.
The backstory: Tesco was once the anchor store for hundreds of British high streets as the midmarket grocer, sitting above discounters like Aldi and Lidl but below more upscale brands like Sainsbury's and Waitrose. But in the last few years — thr recession — Tesco lost the plot. As impoverished shoppers sought cheaper prices Tesco lost a pricing war against Sainsbury's, and lost market share as a result. Sales fell 4% through Aug. 17, 2014, and Tesco has revised downward its profit projection for the year. Tesco also cut its dividend, and the stock has fallen 32% in the last year.
Enter "Drastic" Dave Lewis, who got his nickname at Unilever where he cut costs 40% and slashed 300 jobs from the payroll. He started the new job a month early after it became clear to Tesco's board that waiting any longer wasn't tolerable.
"I want to hear your thoughts and ideas. I want to hear what you think we could do differently or better," he told his staff yesterday, his first day on the job, after admitting to the Evening Standard he was "wonderfully naïve" about running a retail chain.
Some of those employees emailed BI, too.
And it is heartbreaking to read their words.
Obviously, employees who email a global business news website are an unrepresentative, self-selecting sample of staffers. But still ...
This 8-year veteran told us that the stress of working at Tesco's dysfunctional stores is making staff sick:
In my store alone, we have two managers on long term sick leave due to stress, two managers have stepped down, four managers have given requests to leave the store and I have left the company. The company I used to love working for. I am now giving the skills and experience that Tesco gave me to another major retailer.
Another manager complained that there was in fact too much management at Tesco:
We seem to have too many chiefs and not enough indians, i.e. do we need so many managers and team leaders where back in the day where we would run a team or factory of 200 people with a couple of managers and three supervisors very successfully? We feel that the whole structure needs addressing in most stores.
A 25-year Tesco veteran begged Lewis not to implement Unilever style cuts at Tesco because "we cannot cope":
Please do not reduce staff anymore. We cannot cope with tasks and have to do extra hours to complete these, most of the time unpaid, especially the team leaders, but staff do this as well. We have to support more than one area - especially checkouts - so this affects our own department and especially the service of customers which we know is important.
This same person made the identical complaint about their being too many managers in each store and not enough workers to do the basic tasks of running the supermarket:
Managers generally are very expensive general assistants, stacking shelves/produce/fresh/and working as cashiers and also not supporting their own areas, this needs looking at but the area tesco are looking to remove is the team leaders. I am one this is a Big Mistake as they are the ones organising their departments while their managers are doing the above.
Morale in the Stores is rock bottom we need to be listened to, and I am really pleased you have asked for ideas.
One staffer suggested that Tesco take a hit to profits and drive its rivals out of business in a newly aggressive price war:
Sell the land bank (Tesco's vast unused real estate hoard) it will generate vast amounts of money to reduce all prices. Undercut Lidl and Aldi, bankrupt them over time, build prices back up. Reduce 5% profit to 3%.
Go back to basics: price most important thing, real and genuine competitive prices. Customers only go to Aldi/Lidl for cheap food/items not for service or the look of the stores, in my opinion you cannot get a full shop there so, PRICES.
Interestingly, almost everyone who emailed us had strong opinions about the customer experience:
As customers we would like to come into store and pick up our basic food shop without having to choose from more than fifteen types of baked beans, twenty-plus types of cereal, god knows how many types of ketchup, mayo, the list is endless, we feel as employees and customers maybe we should look to going back to basics as a grocer when you could walk into a store and be in and out with exactly what you are looking for.
Another pointed out that wasted bread at Tesco was hurting profits:
Waste, we can’t believe how much waste we put through daily, especially bread and out-of-date food. Surely by now they should know how much bread we need on a daily basis i.e. we only ever buy bread for 10p coz it's always reduced and there's always lots of it.
There is lots more. That's the tip of the iceberg. No doubt Lewis has hundreds of similar emails to read right now.
From Salt Lake Tribune:
Employees of Utah companies should not have to choose between self-defense and their job, an attorney for six fired Wal-Mart employees told the Utah Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Lorraine Brown, an attorney for the six who were fired after confrontations with shoplifting customers or another employee’s angry spouse, told the court that Utah workers sometimes had to confront a "terrible choice" of trying to ensure their own safety or keeping their jobs.
"No employee should be required to make this choice," Brown told the court.
The case arose out of Wal-Mart’s firing of the six for violating company policy that requires them to back away from confrontations where a suspected shoplifter or customer brandishes a weapon, then withdraw to a safe position and call law enforcement.
In a January 2011 incident at a Wal-Mart in Layton, three employees confronted a man who had put a laptop computer down his pants and escorted him to a security office. There, the man showed them a gun and, the employees claim, pushed it into one of their backs.
The three grabbed the gun away and pinned him against a wall before police arrived. They were fired because Wal-Mart said they should have allowed the man leave the office and not wrestled with him.
Two employees were fired at the Wal-Mart in West Valley City after an incident on Christmas Eve of 2010 when they grabbed a shoplifter who was attempting to run, and who then pulled a knife and threatened to stab them. Wal-Mart said the two should have backed away from the woman instead of grabbing her, though the employees say they had grabbed the woman before she brandished the knife.
In a third incident, also in 2010, an assistant store manager was fired from the Cedar Hills store after he was confronted by the husband of another employee who believed the two were having an affair. The assistant manager shoved the husband into some shelves after he had walked away pulling his wife by the arm.
The six dismissed employees sued in federal court, claiming Wal-Mart had implied they couldn’t be fired for such incidents if they went through extra training and that they had the right to defend themselves without risking their jobs.
U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled last year that the employees were at-will workers who could be fired under Utah law because they had no explicit contract with other guarantees. But Shelby asked the Utah Supreme Court to decide whether there is an exception in Utah’s employment laws for self-defense as a "legal right or privilege" for which employees cannot be fired.
An attorney for Wal-Mart, Kathleen Toth, said that by allowing that exception in Utah law "you take the decision away from Wal-Mart, away from the employer, and put it in the hands of the judiciary."
Several Utah Supreme Court justices objected to that characterization, saying there are lawsuits all the time over whether people were wrongfully fired and that public policy creates conditions that allow them to sue.
The justices vigorously questioned both sides and the arguments ran to nearly an hour, way beyond normal time limits.
Justice Thomas Lee said he found Brown’s statements, that the case is about a right to self-defense, an "overgeneralization."
"It doesn’t at all seem unreasonable to me for a large retail establishment to chose de-escalation rather than a stand-your-ground style of self-defense," he said.
Justice Christine Durham took on Toth’s argument that the judicial system should not interpret public policy so that it puts itself as arbiters of whether employees are entitled to a self-protection exception to state employment laws.
"I’m mystified by the notion that somehow Wal-Mart should get to be the final judge of whether the right to self-defense was necessary in a particular fact scenario," she said, pointing to other exceptions that lead to litigation.
The court took the matter under advisement.
By Linda Haluska:
I was born and raised in a middle-class family in East Chicago, Illinois. My dad worked for over 25 years as a machinist at Inland Steel, caring for me, my sister and our mom with his single income. He was able to buy us a comfortable house and car and put food on the table. When we got treated to the movie or a restaurant, I felt special, but I also knew my dad didn’t feel stressed out by the expense – he wanted us to be happy and to believe in working hard and in enjoying the rewards. Above all, he felt hopeful that his children were on a path to greater security and success.
By the time I was ready to enter the workforce, I didn’t feel that same hope. In fact, it no longer seemed like you could take care of a family with one full-time job. I have my own children now, and I worry that they aren’t growing up with any belief in a better life.
For the past eight years, I’ve been stocking shelves at a Wal-Mart store in Glenwood, Illinois. I had thought that working for the largest employer, in one of the fastest growing industries in our country, would put me on a path for a steady paycheck and opportunities. But Wal-Mart jobs create financial insecurity, not a path toward the American Dream.
Still, I want my kids to enjoy their childhood now, and so my husband and I work multiple jobs to make ends meet and take them to an occasional movie or meal out – just like my dad did for me and my sister. I am able to get extra work substitute teaching or picking up odd jobs like working at the fireworks stand.
Even with these side jobs and after working at Wal-Mart for eight years, I only bring home about $400 each week. That means that each month I have to make a decision about which expenses to prioritize and ultimately I have to call one of the bill collectors to see if I can pay late or adjust the payment.
I have spoken with management as part of OUR Walmart, an organization of Wal-Mart associates pushing for more respect, and I receive annual performance evaluations. But these have resulted in small raises – of no more than 50 cents an hour.
I dread opening bills when they arrive because anything higher than usual means another thing my children have to do without. This is especially hard in the summer and winter when higher electric bills mean that we have to cut expenses to the basic needs – no snack foods for the kids and definitely no fun activities with their friends or for our family.
This May, I had a conversation with my son Dennis I will never forget. He told me he had decided not to go to prom because he knew we could not afford it. I was heartbroken that he knew our finances were so stretched that there’s no way we could think about paying for a tuxedo, flowers and prom tickets. In the end, we had to pay the electric, water and car insurance bills – things we really can’t make do without — and there was no extra money for prom.
With my job, I also miss out on important times for my kids. I’ve had to miss their basketball games and tell their teachers I can’t attend the parent-teacher meetings. I don’t want my kids growing up thinking this is as good as it gets and that even with a job you have to live paycheck to paycheck.
At the store and in TV ads, I’ve been hearing Wal-Mart talk about investment in manufacturing, which is laudable. But we cannot let the dollars and cents that they’re putting into this jobs campaign distract us, as a country, from the jobs at Wal-Mart stores and the need for the retailer to improve jobs for hundreds of thousands of workers. And they don’t need an advertising campaign and a big summit to make this change. They could raise pay and provide more hours tomorrow.
When I was growing up, my dad was so proud of his work. Manufacturing was seen as the way to a higher standard of living. But that reality is gone. Today, most of my neighbors, friends and family work in service and retail jobs, and sadly, the hard reality is that Wal-Mart’s treatment of workers continues to hold our country back. Being paid less than $25,000 a year – as most Wal-Mart associates are – while the company brings in $16 billion in profits and spends millions on ads is not OK.
The truth of the matter is that, like me, most Americans now work in retail and depend on these jobs to raise a family and enter the middle class. With its vast reach, Wal-Mart has the power to make a tremendous difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of these workers and their families and transform the retail jobs that are here at home and here to stay into great American jobs. When Wal-Mart praises good manufacturing jobs in the U.S., I hope they also remember the millions who work in retail.
Employees of a Corsicana Walmart were shocked to find a teenage boy secretly living inside the store for a few days.
The teen wasn’t just hiding in the store. He built a secret hidden compound and was able to call the 24-hour store home for 2 1/2 days before being discovered.
CBS 11 News obtained exclusive photos of two campsites at the Walmart in Corsicana. One of them was on the aisle carrying baby products behind boxes of strollers. The other was behind stacks of paper towels and toilet paper.
“You never expect that you’re at Walmart and someone has been living there for four days. That’s crazy,” said Myrna Aguilar, a Walmart customer.
Customers who walked down the aisles where the teen was living never noticed two hidden compounds where the boy was able to store necessities, sleep in a makeshift bed and and eat items taken from inside the store.
He created a crack in the back wall of the drink aisle to grab juice and even collected a fish from the pet department.
The photos show the clothing that employees say the boy would change in and out of every few hours to avoid detection.
Sources said the 14-year-old was so concerned about being caught he wore diapers instead of using the store restroom.
Eventually, a trash trail led to the teen’s discovery.