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

Influx of cross-border visitors to Peace Arch Park sparks concern COVID-19 could spike

Police, parks officials say patrols, education and signage have all been increased

North Delta crime beat, week of May 17

A selection of property crimes submitted weekly by the Delta Police Department

COLUMN: For real leadership amid crisis, look west of Scott Road

Delta council, under direction of Mayor George Harvie, defines leadership during pandemic

UPDATE: Funding announced for pair of North Delta salmon conservation projects

Grants for Cougar Creek-related works by Burns Bog Conservation Society, Cougar Creek Streamkeepers

Delta playgrounds, basketball hoops, reopening June 1

Skate and bike parks in the city were reopened last week

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Importance of accurate, ethical reporting more critical than ever

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Suspected ‘murder hornet’ leaves Langley man on edge after finding insect in bedroom

The extra-large invasive insect had been first discovered in Brookswood on Thursday, May 28

Police watchdog recommends charges against five Mounties in Prince George man’s death

Police used pepper spray on the man, who then had trouble breathing before dying at the scene

Most Read