This combination of images shows Walmart greeters, clockwise from top left, John Combs in Vancouver, Wash., Ashley Powell in Galena, Ill., Mitchell Hartzell in Hazel Green, Ala., and Adam Catlin in Selinsgrove, Pa. Combs, Powell, Hartzell and Catlin are among disabled Walmart greeters threatened with job loss as Walmart transforms the greeter position into one that’s more physically demanding. (Rachel Wasser/Tamara Ambrose/Gina Hopkins/Holly Catlin via AP)

Walmart to make ‘every effort’ to keep disabled greeters

People with disabilities who traditionally filled the greeter job accused Walmart of acting heartlessly

After more than a week of backlash, Walmart is pledging to make “every effort” to find other roles for disabled workers who’d accused the retailer of targeting them as it prepares to eliminate the “people greeter” job at 1,000 stores.

Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart’s U.S. stores, said in a memo to store managers Thursday night that “we are taking some specific steps to support” greeters with disabilities. Walmart released the memo publicly.

Walmart told greeters around the country last week that their positions were being eliminated in late April in favour of an expanded “customer host” role that involves not only welcoming customers, but helping with returns, checking receipts to help prevent shoplifting and keeping the front of the store clean. The position requires hosts to be able to lift heavy weights, climb ladders and do other tasks.

People with disabilities who have traditionally filled the greeter job at many stores accused Walmart of acting heartlessly. Outraged customers and others started online petitions, formed Facebook support groups and called and emailed Walmart corporate to register their displeasure.

Acknowledging the change had “created some conversation,” Foran wrote: “Let me be clear: If any associate in this unique situation wants to continue working at Walmart, we should make every effort to make that happen.”

Walmart initially told greeters they would have the customary 60 days to land other jobs at the company. Amid the uproar, the company has extended the deadline indefinitely for greeters with disabilities.

“In terms of the associates with disabilities who are transitioning out of the People Greeter position, we recognize these people face a unique situation. And because not all disabilities are the same, each case requires a thoughtful solution,” Foran wrote. “For that reason, we are looking into each one on an individual basis with the goal of offering appropriate accommodations that will enable these associates to continue in other roles with their store.”

Walmart said it has already started making job offers to greeters with disabilities, with at least one, Jay Melton, who works at the store in Marion, North Carolina, accepting so far. Melton, whose family had spoken out about his impending job loss, will work at self-checkout, Walmart said.

“Jay has been a part of our store for the last 17 years and is well known throughout our community. Please help us congratulate Jay on his new position!” the Marion Walmart said on its Facebook page.

Michael Rubinkam, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Victoria drafts revision of plastic bag ban bylaw

The bylaw will need to go to the province for approval

Highlands councillor designs ‘carbon budget’ for CRD municipalities

Budget shows how much carbon left for each municipality to use to meet climate goals

VIDEO: James Bay wolf released into wild of western Vancouver Island

Conservation officers confirm wolf is from Discovery Island

Langford ranks as fastest growing community in B.C.

Westshore community grew by 5.2 per cent in 2019 compared to 2018

Central Saanich’s Keating Elementary completes seismic upgrades

Sidney Elementary and North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary still waiting for seismic upgrades

VIDEO: Driver guilty in Saanich crash that left 11-year-old with catastrophic brain injuries

North Saanich woman convicted on one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Taxi association asks B.C. Supreme Court to stop Uber, Lyft from operating

Petition alleges Passenger Transportation Board did not take taxis into account

Majority of Canadian boards had no female members in 2016 and 2017: StatCan

Statistics Canada says 18.1 per cent of director seats were held by women in 2017

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Filming for Resident Alien begins in Ladysmith

Aliens and excitement take over the streets of Ladysmith during new TV series

Most Read