Walmart to make ‘every effort' to keep disabled greeters

Roman Schwartz
March 9, 2019

"Please help us congratulate Jay on his new position!" the Marion Walmart stated on its Facebook page.

"We are so excited to announce that Jay has accepted a position as a Self-Checkout Host".

The man's family confirmed Friday to The McDowell News that Melton would go on working at the store.

Four workers in four other states told NPR on Thursday and Friday that they've received no new offers from Walmart management.

The man's father Jim Melton said his son is "as happy as a pig in a mud puddle". "I seriously wonder this", she continued.

John Spencer has been a greeter at Walmart in Owensboro for 13 years.

People with disabilities who have traditionally filled the greeter job at many stores accused Walmart of acting heartlessly. "He will stay in his greeter role until then".

"As we strive to constantly improve the experience for our customers, we will need to adjust roles from time to time", Walmart said in a statement to USA Today.

Catlin, who is legally blind and uses a walker, was previously offered jobs last week as a cashier or a photo lab assistant, neither of which he would have been able to do as he is legally blind, lacks the finger dexterity to count money, and can't move around the photo lab in his walker.

That came as a blow to greeters with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and other physical disabilities. But, his love for his job at Walmart also tops the list.

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Ryan frequently shops at Walmart and believes large corporations like Walmart are trying to get more bang from their employees.

The petition drew more than 18,000 signatures, many impassioned. Has always had a smile on his face and makes you feel welcome.

"On the one hand it is a good sign that [Walmart is] putting out a letter recommitting their desire to be a good workplace for people with disabilities", said Katie Eyer, professor of anti-discrimination law at Rutgers.

The petition stressed how much Melton loves his job-"what Jay loves most is watching Carolina basketball, going to church, and working at Walmart"-before offering an explanation for why Walmart's policy shift could push him out a job".

Although the big box chain has always been a subject of criticism for labor practices and negatively impacting communities, the role of People Greeter has typically been lauded as going to those who may find it hard to find employment elsewhere, such as the disabled and elderly. This means that the job now requires the ability to stand for long periods of time, lift 25-pound parcels, check receipts, write reports, and help with product loss investigations. Only yesterday did the fact that door greeters will soon lose their jobs at the big-box retailer become apparent.

"It's the messaging that concerns me", said Gabrielle Sedor, chief operations officer at ANCOR, a trade group representing service providers.

A sizeable portion of Walmart greeters are disabled - and thus "unqualified" to perform the duties of the customer host role.

Walmart initially told greeters they would have the customary 60 days to land other jobs at the company.

Wasser said a corporate Walmart official at its Arkansas headquarters told her similar job offers are being made to other disabled greeters nationwide, who've been affected by redefined responsibilities for greeters.

Dodson added that many people with disabilities in the greeter role rely on that job, not only for money, but for sense of freedom and community. "But it certainly doesn't make any commitment that they are guaranteeing that there will be another position available" for all greeters affected by the change in job requirements.

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