Criticism of Walmart

Animal Welfare Position

Walmart Policies and Guidelines
While this is a complex issue, we are actively engaged in bringing together numerous stakeholders, NGOs and other private sector companies to help find solutions. That case proved Stern's claims that Walmart did not hold good title to all the land upon which they obtained a permit to build from the City. The High Cost of Low Price that employees are paid so little they cannot afford health insurance. Nicholson, The New York Times. Retrieved November 26, Archived from the original PDF on March 12,

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On September 4, , the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice ruled that Walmart de Mexico, the Mexican subsidiary of Walmart , must cease paying its employees in part with vouchers redeemable only at Walmart stores.

In July , some workers in China went on unofficial strike at Walmart stores in Nanchang , Jiangxi Province , Chengdu , Sichuan Province , and Harbin , Heilongjiang Province against the company's new working-hours scheduling system. The ACFTU had previously signed an agreement with the company in that allowed Walmart to set up management-controlled unions instead.

The union asked for the workers to return to their jobs. Reuters reported that by July 8, , the striking workers returned to work when management agreed to consider their protests.

In January Walmart announced the increase of the minimum wage for its U. Walmart has faced accusations involving poor working conditions for its employees. For example, a class action lawsuit in Missouri asserted approximately , to , people who were forced to work off-the-clock, were denied overtime pay, or were not allowed to take rest and lunch breaks.

Beginning in , a lawsuit on behalf of 1. William Bielby provided expert opinion on the case, in which he evaluated Walmart's employment policies and corporate culture "against what social science research shows to be factors that create and sustain bias and those that minimize bias" and claimed there was gender bias.

Supreme Court case Wal-Mart v. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia rejected Bielby's testimony, saying it was "worlds away" from proof. On October 16, , approximately workers on the morning shift at a Walmart Super Center in Hialeah Gardens, Florida walked out in protest against new store policies and rallied outside the store, shouting "We want justice" and criticizing the company's recent policies as "inhuman.

Walmart quickly held talks with the workers, addressing their concerns. A report by Democratic United States Representative George Miller alleged that in ten percent of Walmart's stores, nighttime employees were locked inside, holding them prisoner. However, fire officials confirm that at no time were fire exits locked or employees blocked from escape. Walmart has advised all stores to ensure the door keys are available on site at all times.

In January , The New York Times reported on an internal Walmart audit, conducted in July , which examined one week's time-clock records for roughly 25, employees.

In one case, federal investigators say Walmart executives knew that contractors were using undocumented workers as they had been helping the federal government with an investigation for the previous three years.

On October 23, , federal agents raided 61 Walmart stores in 21 United States states in a crackdown known as "Operation Rollback", resulting in the arrests of nightshift janitors who were undocumented. Earlier raids in and resulted in the arrests of workers without documentation located at Walmart stores around the country.

In November , alleged undocumented workers were arrested while working on construction of a new Walmart distribution center in eastern Pennsylvania.

On January 13, , four employees at a Walmart in Layton, Utah were confronted by a shoplifter who pulled out a handgun and took one of the employees hostage in an attempt to leave a small, closed office.

The other three employees disarmed and subdued the shoplifter, and all four held onto the man until police arrived. A week later, the four employees were fired for violating a company policy requiring employees to "disengage" and "withdraw" from any situation involving a weapon.

On July 9, , an employee at a Walmart in Kemptville, Ontario confronted a customer who had left his dog locked in his truck with the windows rolled up.

She called police when the customer refused to rectify the situation. The employee was fired later the same day, reportedly on the grounds of "being rude to a customer", after rejecting instructions from her manager that such incidents should be reported to the store management rather than directly to the police.

The NLRB has recently stated that this also applies to social media. For example, a Sept. He reports that after he began speaking about labor conditions "they started silencing me, by holding me to standards that they weren't holding other associates to.

We were so understaffed, and the workload placed on me [was] unsurmountable. Casias had an inoperable brain tumor and cancer and in his oncologist recommended he try marijuana after the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act was passed in Walmart spokesman Greg Rossiter said that Walmart policy is to terminate employees who take certain prescription medications, and he believed that this policy complied with the law.

According to a September survey by the state of Georgia , one in four children of Walmart employees were enrolled in PeachCare for Kids, the state's health-insurance program for uninsured children, compared to the state's second-biggest employer, Publix , which had one child in the program for every 22 children of employees. The High Cost of Low Price that employees are paid so little they cannot afford health insurance. On January 12, , the Maryland legislature enacted a law requiring that all corporations with more than 10, employees in the state spend at least eight percent of their payroll on employee benefits, or pay into a state fund for the uninsured.

The judge said the law would "hurt Walmart by imposing the administrative burden of tracking benefits in Maryland differently than in other states. On April 17, , Walmart announced it was making a health care plan available to part-time workers after one year of service, instead of the prior two-year requirement.

In March , Walmart sued a former Walmart employee, Deborah Shank, to recover the money it spent for her health care after she was brain-damaged, restricted to a wheelchair, and nursing home-bound after her minivan was hit by a truck. In , Walmart stopped providing health insurance for part-time employees working under 24 hours per week.

Walmart executive Sally Welborn stated in a blog post, "This year, the expenses were significant and led us to make some tough decisions as we begin our annual enrollment.

Walmart has been criticized for its policies against labor unions. Critics blame workers' reluctance to join the labor union on Walmart anti-union tactics such as managerial surveillance and pre-emptive closures of stores or departments who choose to unionize. In , meat cutters in Jacksonville, Texas voted to unionize.

Walmart subsequently eliminated in-house meat-cutting jobs in favor of prepackaged meats, claiming that the measure would cut costs and prevent lawsuits. Walmart's anti-union policies also extend beyond the United States. The High Cost of Low Price , shows one successful unionization of a Walmart store in Jonquière , Quebec Canada in , but Walmart closed the store five months later because the company did not approve of the new "business plan" a union would require.

In March , Walmart executive Tom Coughlin was forced to resign from its Board of Directors, facing charges of embezzlement. A United States attorney has stated that no evidence was found to back up Coughlin's initial claims, and Walmart continues to deny the existence of the anti-union program, though Coughlin himself apparently restated those claims to reporters after his conviction.

Walmart has also had some run-ins with the German Ver. In August , Walmart announced that it would allow workers at all of its Chinese stores to become members of trade unions, and that the company would work with the state-sanctioned All-China Federation of Trade Unions ACFTU on representation for its 28, staff. In May , Walmart employees associated with a union-backed labor group called OUR Walmart began what it says will be the first "prolonged strikes" in Walmart's history.

For Thanksgiving , CNN estimates that approximately a million United States Walmart employees will work over the course of the holiday, with big specials starting at 6: Walmart is also expanding its one-hour guarantee from three items last year to twenty-one items this year. This means that a customer standing in line for such an item from pm or from pm will be guaranteed to get it at that price some point before Christmas.

In July , Walmart was granted a patent titled "Listening to the Frontend" [] for audio surveillance technology that could allow it to record employees as well as its shoppers. In a January article in the Harvard Business Review , Zeynep Ton, a visiting assistant professor in the operations management group at MIT's Sloan School of Management, states that in response to reductions in sales many retailers, including Walmart, reduce staff. Labor is seen as a cost driver rather than a sales driver.

Managers do not have much direct control over sales, almost never making decisions on merchandise mix, layout, price, or promotions. But managers do have control over payroll costs and are evaluated regarding whether they meet weekly or monthly targets for payroll as a percentage of sales. At times these pressures have been such that Walmart managers have put pressure on employees to work off the clock.

As counter examples of companies which both invest in their employees and are price leaders in their fields, Prof. In February , Walmart received an American Customer Satisfaction Index rating of 71 as compared to 81 for Target, placing Walmart last for the year among retail and department stores. During this same period, its overall United States employees including Sam's Clubs employees went down ever so slightly at 1.

In Wisconsin, an employee who oversees grocery deliveries and who is a member of OUR Walmart reports that the store is a long way from the previous mantra of "in the door and to the floor. Zeynep Ton states that companies can get in a downward spiral where too few labor hours lead to operational problems and lower sales and these reduced sales then become a rationale to reduce labor hours even further.

A customer from Delaware states that the cosmetics section "looked like someone raided it" and "You hate to see a company self-destruct, but there are other places to go. It was like, you have to help them help you. An April 3, The New York Times article cites Supermarket News that Walmart's grocery prices are usually about 15 percent cheaper than competitors.

At the start of , the company had an average of employees for each Walmart and Sam's Club store in the United States, and by April , this had reduced to an average of employees per store. Terrie Ellerbee, associate editor of grocery publication The Shelby Report , traced the problem to when Walmart reduced the number of different merchandise items carried in an attempt to make stores less cluttered.

Customers did not like this change, and Walmart added the merchandise back, but did not add employees back. An April 5, article in the Consumerist includes photographs of Walmart shelves which are only partially stocked, primarily in health and beauty products. One employee is quoted as saying, "As soon as we get a full crew we start to lose people through them quitting or being fired.

Management seems to wait until we need 6 or 7 people, then we get a rash of new hires. However, even with these problems, Walmart was performing better than Target in the measure of retail turnover, turning over its entire inventory 8 times a year as compared to 6.

The article's author writes that no amount of "computer wizardry" will eliminate the need for human beings to also move merchandise onto shelves. The author further writes that Walmart's whole business model is based on reducing the carrying costs of unsold merchandise, and any speed bump along the line adds back costs. Front-end managers are supposed to open another register any time there are more than three customers in line, but these employees have to come from some other part of the store, and the night crew may or may not be able to catch up.

In September , Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Walmart will be offering 35, part-time employees full-time jobs and will be offering another 35, temporary employees permanent part-time positions. Walmart will also be looking to hire 55, seasonal employees for the upcoming holiday season. This compares to , jobs Walmart has cut over the last five years. For Thanksgiving specials, Walmart included twenty-one items which included a one-hour guarantee, where customers would pay at that time and then go online to arrange delivery to a store of their choice by Christmas.

In February , a local NBC affiliate in Troy, Alabama, United States, showed photographs of empty shelves and aired customer complaints, with one customer stating, "And merchandise?

When you don't have any salt on the shelf, no matter what brand, that's pretty bad. They have things that are broken in there and instead of fixing the problem, they have a trash bag taped over it, and it smells horrible. As a large customer to most of its vendors, Walmart openly uses its bargaining power to bring lower prices to attract its customers. The company negotiates lower prices from vendors. For certain basic products, Walmart "has a clear policy" that prices go down from year to year.

While Sam Walton was alive, Walmart had a "Buy American" campaign, but it was exposed shortly after he died that signs saying "Buy American" were on bins of Asian made products. Walmart has been criticized for not providing adequate supervision of its foreign suppliers. It has also been criticized for using sweatshops and prison labor. Walmart said it did not use prison labor. The documentary film Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price shows images of Walmart goods-producing factories in poor condition, and factory workers subject to abuse and conditions that the documentary producers considered inhumane.

Walmart currently uses monitoring which critics say is inadequate and "leaves outsiders unable to verify" conditions. Since Walmart will not release its audits or factory names, outside organizations are expected to simply accept Walmart's claims as fact. In , Walmart began working with Business for Social Responsibility, a San Francisco, California-based nonprofit organization, to reach out to groups active in monitoring overseas plants. On November 24, a fire in a Bangladesh clothing factory resulted in the death of workers.

Survivors said that fire extinguishers did not work, an exit door was locked, and that when the fire alarm went off, bosses told workers to return to their sewing machines. Victims were trapped or jumped to their deaths from the eight-story building, which had no fire escapes or exits.

Initially Walmart said it could not confirm that it had ever sourced apparel from the factory. However photos taken by Bangladeshi labor activists showed Walmart-branded clothing present in the factory after the fire.

Walmart later said that a supplier had subcontracted work to the factory "in direct violation of our policies. It was also disclosed in a November 24 article in The New York Times that officials who had attended a Bangladesh meeting to discuss factory safety in the garment industry said that the Walmart official there had played the lead role in blocking an effort to have global retailers pay more for apparel to help Bangladesh factories improve their electrical and fire safety.

In , The New York Times reported that Walmart had been made aware eight years earlier that executives of Walmart México , its subsidiary in that country, had paid millions of dollars in bribes to local officials to expedite permits for construction and operation of its many stores in that country.

The company had opened many stores in Mexico in the late s and early s, attempting to widely establish itself before competitors could. Sergio Cicero, a lawyer who had been responsible for obtaining those permits and was bitter about being passed over for the position of general counsel with Walmart México provided the company's corporate general counsel's office with evidence showing that the company had made large payments to gestores , workers who deal with bureaucracies on behalf of citizens and businesses, with coded indications that the money was being passed on to officials to expedite permits.

Company officials hired a veteran FBI agent to conduct a preliminary inquiry, instead of hiring an outside law firm as it usually did for major inquiries, such as a similar one in which found that Walmart México had been helping high-volume customers evade that country's sales taxes. Executives at Walmart México chafed at the investigation, reportedly complaining that that was how business was done in the country.

They told their counterparts at corporate headquarters that the investigators were being too aggressive, and some of the company's top executives apparently agreed. Feeling Walmart had had enough bad publicity in recent years, they allowed the investigation to be concluded by a short report from José Luis Rodríguezmacedo, the head of Walmart México, who had himself been suspected of involvement.

It largely blamed Cicero, claiming he had fabricated the allegations to conceal his own embezzlement from the company with the help of the gestores , one of whom was his wife's law partner. Some Walmart executives found the report incomplete and contradictory, but the investigation was closed. None of the Mexican executives investigated were ever disciplined, and some were even promoted afterwards.

In December , several months before the story broke, Walmart announced it had begun an internal review of its FCPA compliance procedures. It was unclear how the Justice Department might respond. While the FCPA's five-year statute of limitations appeared to bar prosecution under that statute, falsified financial statements in the years since could be seen as obstruction of justice under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act , and acts taken to conceal the bribery investigation subsequent to could constitute conspiracy.

Walmart's product selection has been criticized by some groups in the past, primarily as viewed as a promotion of a particular ideology or as a response to its original rural, religious and conservative target market. In , Walmart removed certain men's magazines from its shelves, such as Maxim , FHM , and Stuff , citing customer complaints regarding their sexual content.

It has also refused to sell the December issue of WWE Magazine due to its controversial cover depicting The Rock doused with fire. Since , Walmart has not carried music albums marked with the Recording Industry Association of America 's RIAA's Parental Advisory Label although it allows R-rated movies and video games rated "Mature" , although it carries edited versions of such albums, with obscenities removed or overdubbed with less offensive lyrics.

To satisfy Walmart, the record label, Lost Highway Records , issued the album with an alternative cover, without recalling the original cover. Walmart has never carried Marilyn Manson albums, solely because of the controversy surrounding Manson's music, but recently began selling Nine Inch Nails albums after rejecting them for years. However albums carrying the label can be found in Canadian Walmart stores, for example. In , Walmart announced that it would not stock emergency contraception pills in its pharmacies, not citing any particular reasons except for a "business decision" that was made earlier.

Walmart has also been criticized for selling some controversial products. For example, in Walmart carried the anti-Semitic hoax [] The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in its online catalogue. The Jewish civil rights organization Anti-Defamation League wrote to the President of Walmart on September noting the text, "has been the major weapon in the arsenals of anti-Semites around the world," and called on Walmart to, "unequivocally state the nature of the book and to disassociate itself from any endorsement of it.

The company said that the copies were shipped to it by mistake and a Walmart spokeswoman said she did not "believe this particular product would appeal" to its customer base. In January , Walmart was criticized for the recommendation system on its website which suggested that some black-related DVDs, such as Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and documentaries on Baptist minister and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. It quickly corrected the page, saying that it was a software glitch, but ultimately blamed the matter on human error.

A December report published by the Environmental Investigation Agency , a non-governmental agency, revealed that some furniture sold at Walmart was made from wood which had been illegally logged in protected Russian habitats for Siberian tigers and other wildlife.

In Walmart was sued for selling fake craft beer. The beer is labeled and marketed as being produced by the non-existent "Trouble Brewery" but is actually made by WX Brands, a large corporate brewery that also makes Genesee beer. At the end of , Walmart removed t-shirts which implied a promotion of violence, with the words 'Rope. Until the mids, Walmart took out corporate-owned life insurance policies on its employees including "low-level" employees such as janitors, cashiers, and stockers.

This type of insurance is usually purchased to cover a company against financial loss when a high-ranking employee i. The practice was stopped in the mids when the federal government closed the tax deduction and began to pursue Walmart for back taxes. These issues involve low wages , poor working conditions , inadequate health care , as well as issues involving the company's strong anti-union policies. This was found in a study by Oklahoma State University which states, "Walmart is found to have substantially lowered the relative unemployment rates of blacks in those counties where it is present, but to have had only a limited impact on relative incomes after the influences of other socio-economic variables were taken into account.

In , a gender discrimination lawsuit, Dukes v. A class action suit was sought, which would have been the nation's largest in history, covering 1. In January , Wal-Mart announced that "diversity efforts include new groups of minority, female and gay employees that meet at Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville to advise the company on marketing and internal promotion. There are seven Business Resource Groups: Walmart's cage-free eggs will not come from free range producers, but rather industrial-scale farms where the birds will be allotted between 1 and 1.

Walmart has not committed to phasing out battery cages in Latin America like it has committed to do so in the United States, [] the United Kingdom, [] and Canada. The proposal never met local regulations because Walmart never owned all of the land upon which it planned to build, yet they fought a five year fight to build on land they didn't own and the City strangely violated all of its laws to help make that happen.

Walmart's Midtown plan was rejected the first time in February , [] but was redesigned by Gensler [] and approved by Miami Planning and Zoning Director Francisco Garcia in August , then upheld on appeal by the City Commission in November If built, it would be the first traditional Walmart location within the actual City of Miami limits, although there are numerous locations just outside city limits in Doral , Hialeah , Gladeview , North Miami Beach , and Westchester , as well as a " Neighborhood Market " in the western fringes of the city.

After more than two years of litigation, Walmart won their very first court battle in August The Midtown development already contains a Target and a Ross which makes another big box retailer like Walmart redundant for the site. The Walmart broke ground with an illegal permit from the City of Miami in January , [] after a panel of state judges in the 3rd District Court of Appeals blocked a petition challenging the development.

In , Stern won a judgment against the City of Miami in a public records lawsuit related to Walmart's plan to build in Midtown Miami. That case proved Stern's claims that Walmart did not hold good title to all the land upon which they obtained a permit to build from the City.

As a result, the City of Miami froze their permit and eventually, construction of the Walmart was involuntarily halted when the City revoked their foundation permit on June 21, and construction ceased at the site within the week, which is how Walmart's vacant Midtown site remains.

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September Learn how and when to remove this template message. Business and economics portal Companies portal. Retrieved on July 31, Retrieved July 31, Retrieved December 3, Retrieved May 6, Retrieved on August 1, Retrieved on August 17, Archived February 3, , at the Wayback Machine. The Bully of Bentonville. Retrieved on August 4, The card, issued by Green Dot Bank, has cash-back rewards for Walmart purchases and free online services.

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