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Protesting Walmart Workers Finding Hours More Available
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Walmart’s new program called Access to Open Shifts, is helping workers look through the internal scheduling system for open shifts.

  
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The pilot program that ran in the Walmart store in Fort Smith, Arkansas a year ago, will be available next week in more than 4,000 Walmart stores, helping part-timers get more hours and work towards getting a full-time position.

“Our associates are the best generators of ideas,” said spokesman Kory Lundberg. “They’ve been telling us they want to know what opportunities are there in the store. This is one way to bring a little more transparency to the folks in the store to see what’s available… We’re excited about where this can go.”

Cynthia Murray, a Walmart employee who’s worked at the Walmart store in Laurel Md. for 14 years and is a member of OUR Walmart a labor-backed employee group, said, “We fought for this from the beginning, we’re very adamant about it, that workers were not getting enough hours,” she said.

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Meiasha Bradley, 26, works at the Walmart store in Sacramento, Cali., told HuffPost that since her store launched the program last month she’s managed to roughly double her hours. She called the rollout a “victory” for employees who demanded changes.

“A lot of the associates at our store and I know nationwide were going to management, saying, ‘Hey our hours are getting cut, we need more,” said Bradley, an our Walmart member. “I think that if we had given up we wouldn’t have won this. We stood our ground.” She added, “It will open up a lot of doors for our associates to become full-time,” she added.



Walmart U.S. President, Bill Simon announced that the company would make new efforts at bringing full-time work to employees who wanted it. As a part of that, Simon said the world’s largest private-sector employer would make its scheduling system more transparent to associates looking to pick up more hours.

In the past, Walmart employees would have to speak to the manager about what shifts were available, but now with the new system in place, employees can log onto Walmarts Intranet system and see what shifts are available in different departments. The employee tries to secure the availability of the shift and if they’re qualified, they get the shift.

Dan Schlademan, director of Making Change @ Walmart, a campaign of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union had only good words to say about the company’s new system. For many year the group has criticized Walmart for its pay and scheduling practices, and played a lead role in organizing the recent protests.

“These are people now who can work their scheduling better. It’s a great thing,” Schlademan told The Huffington Post. “One of the number-one issues that workers have really been struggling with is hours.” He added the the ongoing national discussion on low-wage work has often left out the question of scheduling. Pay and hours, he said, go “hand in hand.”

“You can have the highest wage out there but without hours it doesn’t mean anything,” he said. Walmart has changed a few things in the human-resource department lately, the company overhauled its policies for pregnant workers after they were criticized by women’s groups for being inhospitable and perhaps even illegal. According to The Washington Post, over the weekend, the new guidelines should make it easier for pregnant workers to qualify for light duty.

Image Credit: The Huffington Post



 

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