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By Associated Press
As Walmart moves to phase out his well-known blue-conscious greeters at ca. 1000 stores nationwide, says disabled workers, who occupy many of these jobs they are poorly treated by a chain that is societal and inclusive.
Walmart told greeters in the country last week that their positions would be eliminated on April 26 in favor of an expanded and more physically demanding "customer host" role. To qualify, they must be able to lift packages of 25 pounds (11 kg), climb up and stand for long periods.
It came as a great blow to greeters with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other physical disabilities. For them, a job at Walmart has provided a need for income, earned a pride and offered a connection to the community.
Now Walmart, America's largest private employer, faces a setback, as customers gather around some of the chains' most highly visible employees.
Walmart says it strives to place greeters in other jobs with the company, but workers with disabilities are concerned.
Donny Fagnano, 56, who has worked at Walmart for over 21 years, said he was crying at a Lewisburg, Pennsylvania store manager, calling him to the office last week and telling him his job was gone.
"I like to work," he said. "It's better than sitting at home."
Fagnano, who has spina bifida, said he was offered a resignation package. He hopes to stay at Walmart and clean the bathrooms instead.
Walmart greeters have been around for decades, so the retail giant can put a friendly face in front of its stores. So in 2016, Walmart began replacing greeters with hosts, adding responsibilities that include helping with returns, checking receipts to deter shoplifters, and keeping the front of the store clean. Walmart and other chains have redefined roles in the stores as they compete with Amazon.
The effect of the greeter phasing out of disabled and elderly people – traditionally engraved against the role they were capable of doing – virtually escaped public announcement until last week when Walmart launched another round of cuts.
As the word first spread on social media and then in local and national news stores, rebellion customers began to call Walmart to complain. Ten thousands of people signed petitions. Facebook groups sprang up with names like "Team Adam" and "Save Lesley." Another class class in California wrote letters to Walmart's CEO on behalf of Adam Catlin, a disabled greeter in Pennsylvania whose mother had written a passionate Facebook post about his situation. Walmart said it offered another job to Catlin.
In Galena, Illinois, hundreds of customers plan to attend an "appreciation parade" for Ashley Powell on his last working day as a greeter.
"I love it, and I think I've touched many people," said Powell, 34, who has an intellectual disability.
In Vancouver, Washington, John Combs, 42, who has cerebral palsy, is destroyed and then angry with his impending loss of jobs. It had taken his family five years to find him a job he could do, and he loved the work and brought nicknames to all his colleagues.
"What should I do, just sit on my ass all day in this house? That's all I have to do?" Combs asked his sister and guardian, Rachel Wasser. "I do my job, I did nothing wrong."
Wasser urged the retailer to "give these people a fair shake." If you want to do your actions according to your words, do it. T be a wolf in sheepskin. "
With the US unemployment rate for disabled people more than twice as much for non-disabled workers, Walmart has long been seen as a destination for people like Combs. Lawyer groups worry that the company is lagging behind.
" That's the message that concerns me, "said Gabrielle Sedor, ANCOR's chief operator, a trading group representing service providers." Given that Walmart is such an international retailer, I am concerned that this decision may suggest some people that the company bottom line is more important for the company than inclusive society. We do not believe that the two are mutually exclusive. "
The Greeter issue has already received at least three complaints to the US Equal Opportunities Commission, as well as a federal lawsuit in Utah that invokes discrimination among Americans with the Disability Law. Under federal law, employers must offer" reasonable "accommodations for disabled people.
Walmart did not reveal how many disabled greeters could lose their jobs, saying that after having made the change in more than 1,000 stores in 2016, 80 to 85 percent of all other greeters' other roles were found at Walmart, which did not reveal where many of them were deactivated.
This time, Walmart originally told greeters that they would have 60 days to land other jobs at the company. In the midst of the uprising, the company has extended the deadline unlimited for disabled greeters.
"We recognize that our employees with physical disabilities face a unique situation, "Walmart says nd Justin Rushing in a statement. The extra time, he said, will give Walmart a chance to investigate how to accommodate such employees.
Walmart said it has already made offers to some greeters, including those with physical disabilities, and expects to continue doing so in the coming weeks
Mitchell Hartzell, 31, a full-time Walmart greeter in Hazel Green, Alabama said his leader told him they almost didn't. I have nothing to do with that store for me, "after his job was in April. He said he continued to approach several assistant leaders to ask for openings and found a vacancy at the self-service. But it had already been promised a greeter who did not use a wheelchair, he said.
"It seems they don't want us anymore," said Hartzell, who has cerebral palsy.
Jay Melton, 40 Having worked as a greeter in Marion, North Carolina, for nearly 17 years, loves church, Tar Heel's basketball and Walmart. His son-in-law, Jamie Melton, said the job is what gets him out of bed.
"He He does not have many things, he makes himself happy, "she said. Access to Walmart added Melton:" When you cut out a large population of people and you have written a policy declaring that they are no longer capable of doing what they have done, it is discrimination. "