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Maintaining their established trend of neglecting corporate social responsibility and throwing American workers under the bus, Walmart has made the conscious business decision to hire only temporary workers at many of its US stores, the first time that the world’s largest retailer has chosen to do so outside of the holiday shopping season.

Putting their corporate profits ahead of the welfare of their own employees, Walmart’s new hiring tactic is a shameless ploy intended to save them healthcare expenses and other benefits they would otherwise have to pay to full-time workers and part-time workers who work more than 30 hours per week.

A Reuters survey of 52 stores run by the largest U.S. private employer in the past month, including one in every U.S. state, showed that 27 were hiring only temps, 20 were hiring a combination of regular full, part-time and temp jobs, and five were not hiring at all. The survey was based on interviews with managers, sales staff, and human resource department employees at the stores.

Of course, Walmart’s company spokesman, David Tovar, has excused this indefensible hiring practice by claiming that the new policy is intended to ensure that Walmart is “staffed appropriately”, when the stores are busiest.

Promoting the shameless lie that this is not a cost-cutting move, Tovar stated that temporary workers are paid the same starting pay as other Walmart workers, but conveniently left out the fact that in order to receive healthcare benefits mandated by the soon-to-be implemented “Obamacare”, they would have to maintain employment at Walmart for a year or more, which is highly unlikely as turnover in retail often occurs within the first few months.

Shirking responsibility for the health and welfare of their employees, Walmart latest hiring ruse is simply a way for them to keep their stores fully staffed while saving the company money and increasing profit margins, all at the expense of the health and welfare of these new temporary workers, not to mention their full and part-time workers that are in desperate need of higher pay and more hours.

Using these temporary workers allows the company to have adequate staff on busy weeknights and weekends without being forced to hire additional costly full-time staff.

Incredibly, temporary workers as a percent of Walmart total US workforce have jumped to 10% from only 1% to 2% in 2012.

This new hiring strategy will save Walmart a lot of money by cutting labor costs and ensuring that the American taxpayer will continue to subsidize the general welfare of its workers through government benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid.

“Full-time people are getting slimmer and slimmer,” said a supervisor at a store in North Carolina, who asked not to be named, as did other store-level employees who were interviewed for this story, because she is not authorized to talk to the media.

She said that the five new employees hired this year at the store are all temps and hours of existing employees are being cut.

“Everybody who comes through the door I hire as a temporary associate,” said a store manager in Alaska, who asked not to be identified. “It’s a company direction at the present time.”

“Long-term associates are particularly distraught by this short-term hiring as many are looking for more hours and full-time work,” said Mary Pat Tifft, a member of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart, or OUR Walmart, a group of current and former Walmart employees campaigning for better wages, hours and benefits. It does not define itself as a union, although its members do pay $5 monthly dues. OUR Walmart is part of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

Of course, not all American retailers are taking advantage of desperate American workers struggling in a deplorable labor market. Walmart’s rivals, such as target, Costco, and Sears, are all hiring only full and part-time employees and don’t plan to hire any temporary workers outside of seasonally busy periods like the holidays.

“I don’t know about others’ practices or philosophies, but I can say that Costco’s general hope and expectation when hiring an employee is to make it a long-term relationship,” said Patrick Callans, vice president for human resources and risk management at Costco.

It is safe to say that Sam Walton’s heirs, who have turned a company that used to engage in corporate social responsibility into a heartless vulture capitalist corporation, could care less about the health and welfare of their temporary employees, who will be forced to work without adequate healthcare for up to 12 months before gaming eligibility to Walmart’s healthcare plan. Given Walmart and the retail industry’s high turnover rate, most of these workers will end up working from Walmart without ever receiving health benefits.

“A temporary worker may never get that far,” said Barbara McGeoch, a principal and health benefits expert at consulting firm Mercer’s legal, regulatory and legislative group. “They may never get the coverage.”

Let’s hope that the Walton heirs are able to sleep soundly, knowing that the heartless hiring strategy of their inherited retailer will lead to higher profits for them and less access to quality healthcare for their struggling employees.

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SpiceZ SpiceZ
56-60, F
1 Response Jun 22, 2013

I won't shop there period. They now are the antithesis of what Sam Walton believed in. The indoctrination thing when you work there--- this is Not China, we don't owe our existence to them. Be wise, decide where to shop.