Working for Walmart

I have worked for Walmart for over 17 years. It used to be a good place to work. Once you got hired on, they looked out for you. Your supervisor made sure everybody got the hours that worked for you. If special needs arose, it was accommodated. You knew your job cared and had your back.

How times have changed.

When I hired on, full time was 28 hours or more. That meant anyone working more than 28 hours was entitled to full time benefits. Part time got benefits, they just had to work twice as long to get them. That included health insurance for you and your family and disability and life insurance.

Things are very different now. Part time employees don’t get any benefits. There is no health insurance for them or their families. No option for disability insurance or life insurance.

And yes, Walmart made a big publicity splash about raising everyone’s pay to $11 an hour but someone has to pay for that. People at the bottom got big raises to take them to $11. I got a 28 cent raise. For the whole year. And the only positions open for new hires are part time. All those thousands of new jobs they are hiring for? They don’t pay for insurance for those people with a savings of millions of dollars.

Now, part time hours are considered to be 32 hours or less, and to be considered to be full time you have to average that many hours a week at least. And the big heaping pile of poo in the middle of this is the fact you have to be willing to work the shifts they offer to get those full time hours. And if the hours you are assigned to work don’t add up to that amount, too bad, so sad, you are cut to part time hours and classification after 10 weeks and lose all benefits including health insurance. and you have no choice to fight it unless you can bend down and accept the hours they will give you.

Did I mention the available shifts either start at 4 am or end at 11 pm. I cannot do the 4 am start shift. I can’t sleep when it’s light outside. I would have to go to sleep at 6 in the evening and get up at 2:30 in the morning. I might get to see my husband for 30 minutes, some days not at all on days he works later. Not happening. I would collapse before the week is up. And I could maybe do the 3-11pm shift but that would mean seeing my husband ONE DAY A WEEK.

Ok ,when did it become a choice between keeping my health and my marriage or keeping my full time hours and my health insurance?

I have a disability. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I am entitled , under the Americans With Disabilities Act, to a reasonable accomodation for my disability. As I see it, this should at least entitle me to a request for a consistent start time during the hours I can work. To me this sounds reasonable.

When I ask for this “reasonable accommodation “ I am told management doesn’t want to know why I am submitting the available times I am listing. And then I am told if I want more hours, I have to open up my availability to all of those hours I can’t do..

I know that Walmart doesn’t give a furry rat’s behind about me as a human being and the management team is only following company policy. That doesn’t make it right.

It’s an unwinnable situation.

I have been fighting this battle for a couple of years and frankly, I have given up.

I know if I transfer to another store, the same thing will happen again. I also know if I quit and go to work for another company, I will lose a substantial amount of pay and insurance for a year and have to start over with vacation. And we can get health insurance through my husband’s job but it will cost about twice as much.

I lose no matter what I do.

And then…

And then management comes to me and tells me I need to have section work done in the next 2 hours. There’s 30 ish sections on the list. Working the sections means straightening the 4-foot section, scanning the stock on the top shelf to see if it will go out and then working it down then scanning any outs to see if they really are outs. And with our clueless stockers, your out on the shampoo aisle may be sitting on the top shelf over the body wash. If I work them properly, it can take me 10-15 minutes each to do them. I go to lunch after properly working 10 or so. (I also spent 20 minutes in the personnel office trying to find out what’s happening to my benefits when they cut me to part time.)

“Oh, you don’t have many sections to work.”

I get back from lunch to have the manager tell me I have to have the rest worked in 15 minutes. Riiiiight. When she raises her voice at me asking why it wasn’t finished, i point out that I am thorough and I look for missing things and I do it how it’s supposed to be done. And I comment about how I don’t want to cheat just to get it out of the system. So ends up they don’t want it done right, they just want it done. So I cheat on the rest of it and it still takes me over an hour. I also look her in the eye and ask her if she’s just wanting to write me up. My defense is I’m doing things correctly and she knows she has no right to get ugly with me. Just because she’s having a bad day doesn’t give her a license to crap on all the rest of us. And you back me in a corner, I will defend myself. But this is the usual management style where I work.

People don’t understand why I don’t want to go see Crystal Bridges museum. That’s the art museum Alice Walton has built to display her collection of art from American artists. I am one of thousands of people who have been exploited and used to fund the millions of dollars used to buy the collection and build the display space for the art.. I don’t know if I could look at it and not be reminded of the greed it took to acquire the money to buy the art and the faux generosity to say “oh, here you can come look at it for free”. The idea of looking at all that ostentatious display of greed chokes me.

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