News, Op-Eds

Wal-Mart Employees Share On-The-Job Horrors

Despite Wal-Mart’s attempted PR stunt to gain favor, it’s becoming more and more publicly recognized that they mistreat employees and are a terrible place to work. Ever since Gawker first started publishing the submitted stories of Wal-Mart employees, the store has been garnering attention for poor working conditions and anti-union tactics.

Some of the stories are directly horrific — such as an employee death — but most are simply an explanation of how terrible a place Wal-Mart really is.

Standing up for workers’ rights is important. Although there are many people that will simply say, “don’t work or shop there if you don’t support it,” the truth is that public discussion and ridicule is a tool of capitalism — and it should also be pointed out that many people can’t find another job.

Perhaps the most chilling story in one of Gawker’s latest editions is the following:

“All evening shift employees would be forced to stay an extra hour after closing. The store is located in far Northeast Philadelphia, PA. Another employee (who worked the snack bar) and I would always be the last to leave before the overnight stock crew came in.

We would have to run, after dark, across four lanes of Roosevelt Blvd (turns into Route 1), to get the only bus home. There were no crosswalks nearby, so we took our lives into our hands every time we did this.

One day I came in, and was told she was struck and killed when two cars were doing an illegal drag race across the boulevard. Management made an attempt at regret for what happened. A photo of her was put on the wall by the snack bar until it was converted into a Subway.”

There are also accounts of management allowing sexual harassment despite employee complaints:

“There are very few women on overnights, and only one other that was close to my age. I would get constantly sexually harassed by other associates (often in front of management). One asked me every day if I wanted to [expletive]-I repeatedly told management, and they refused to do anything, and wouldn’t even take care to separate us on the floor. Finally he was arrested, for smoking meth with and then raping a 13 year old girl. My store was full of such winners.”

The same woman as the paragraph above also goes on to say,

“After about a year, I moved to the bakery. When the Health Inspector came, stores called each other frantically alerting the others of their whereabouts. We went into a cleaning frenzy, as there were many violations. Ovens and pans were never cleaned, people handled bread and meat without gloves-we’d even had expired meat sitting in our bread freezer for months. Even in the back room, where produce was stored, there were rats that ate watermelons and could carry away cucumbers that were never dealt with.”

Reports have even come in from other countries, such as the following excerpt from a Canadian employee’s story:

I worked for Walmart in canada where I live. I had a terrible experience there and would never do it again. They would force us to work when we told them we were unavailable. Threaten to fire us for asking for time off. Tell us to be active in loss prevention then yell at us when we confronted shoplifters. Told us that if we unionized we would lose our jobs…

They just went on and on about how there is an open door policy and all employees are treated fairly and equally. About how there is no need for a union and any union activity is to be reported to management.

If you support better worker treatment, boycott Wal-Mart. Don’t work there if you can help it. Make sure people are aware of the way Wal-Mart treats their workers and their union-fighting efforts and strategies. The only way to hurt a megacorporation is their profit line, and we can only do that one tiny step at a time.

Share their stories in order to bring attention to Wal-Mart’s poor labor practices and low wages.

Reposted from Occupy Democrats with permission.

About Justin Acuff

Justin Acuff is a political activist, writer and admitted news junkie. He has written hundreds of articles that have been read millions of times. Justin is a Senior Editor for Addicting Info, the owner and managing editor of Young Progressive Voices, and contributes to other publications as well. The best part? He isn't even 21 yet. Follow his Facebook fan page to get access to his latest articles, find his website here, or follow him on Twitter.

Discussion

42 thoughts on “Wal-Mart Employees Share On-The-Job Horrors

  1. Walmart is systematically lowering our country’s health. Nothing but high sugar processed foods. Boycott them until they raise wages.

    Posted by omtatjuan | July 16, 2013, 1:25 pm
  2. Let me get this straight – you’re saying Walmart is bad for our health, but we should shop there when they start paying employees more?

    You’ve got a little disconnect there friend.

    Posted by Wayne Ryan | July 16, 2013, 2:15 pm
  3. I have heard these stories for years which is why I shop at Costco. Those people seem to really love their jobs. Saw a show on cable and Costco pays well and offers benefits. The CEO is like 76 and travels around the world going to stores and meeting employees. No one needs Wallyworld….

    Posted by Trespass | July 16, 2013, 6:34 pm
    • Unless there’s no Costco in your state.

      Posted by jm | July 18, 2013, 12:25 pm
      • There are still better options than walmart. Especially in a small town. Go to your local grocer or find local farmers and meat markets. It’s so much better for the people in your area, your health, and your local economy! =]

        Posted by Courtney | July 18, 2013, 12:47 pm
      • Yep. You got me there….

        Posted by Trespass | July 18, 2013, 1:14 pm
      • There isn’t a Costco anywhere near me, or a Hyvee, or anything BESIDES Walmart. A decade ago, Walmart came into my hometown, built a supercenter, and killed all of the small businesses in my small little town. We are forced to shop there or drive an hour or two away.

        Posted by Morgan Meric | July 18, 2013, 1:41 pm
    • Unless the local Walmart has driven away all the ‘local competitors’ We have lost 2 Hardware, 1 Grocery, 1 Pharmacy, 2 Shoe, 3 Clothing stores, and various farm stands and other independent sellers. Now to ‘shop elsewhere’ I must drive more than 30 miles – passing 2 other Walmarts on the way …….

      Posted by Ischade | July 18, 2013, 1:28 pm
      • same here, my friend. They drove out all of the small businesses here, and all of the previous business owners now work at – you guessed it – Walmart.

        Posted by Morgan Meric | July 18, 2013, 1:42 pm
    • The cool thing with Costco is that it’s employee owned and the CEO’s salary is based on the wages of the lowest paid employee. So if he wants to give himself a raise, everyone down the line gets one too. Talk about employee satisfaction and motivation! THAT is how to run a company. Walmart can suck it.

      Posted by Joseph Kinney | July 18, 2013, 8:14 pm
    • I have been to small towns where people don’t have the means to travel far and wide to buy what they need. Many communities no longer have small businesses because Walmart has killed them. Many of the folks I met don’t have cars in places where nothing is in walking distance and no buses run. So your idea is great but not for everyone.

      Posted by Mari | July 24, 2013, 9:45 am
    • I shop at Costco when I can, but, as my husband and I don’t have a huge family, it usually doesn’t make much sense to buy food there. But, I do like Costco and support them as much as I can. I haven’t shopped to WalMart, except to spend a gift certificate there, since 1998.

      Posted by Laurie Mann | August 2, 2013, 10:27 am
  4. I recently talked to the Human Resources of a very large, nationwide company. My question to him was “What do you look for in a new employee?” His reply was that he would never hire anyone who had worked for WalMart, that WalMart turned out mindless robots. Nuff said.

    Posted by Jane Fargo | July 17, 2013, 10:14 am
    • That is ridiculous. I work at Walmart and am no robot. I know it sucks. I also know that I need a paycheck to keep a roof over our heads and there are no jobs in this rural area so I am thankful I am employed. I am so sick of reading about how I am an ignorant lazy non caring person because I work there.

      Posted by buffycar | July 18, 2013, 11:28 am
      • Kudos to you. I totally understand. I know the employees work under less than ideal conditions, so I always try to be extra kind and friendly to them. Thank you for all you do.

        Posted by Karen | July 18, 2013, 11:52 am
      • I hate it when people make generalized statements. You just keep up the good work and try to ignore ignorant people.
        Any job you do well is a job worth doing.

        Posted by Linda Wilson | July 18, 2013, 1:58 pm
      • some people are just fools. pf course you had to take work where you could find it. people should berate the company, not the employees. someone up there said “mindless robots” work for walmart. that’s bs. human beings trying to get by work there.

        Posted by ann | July 18, 2013, 4:47 pm
    • That’s not always true. I know for me working at Walmart when I was in college gave me the drive to want to NEVER work for WalMart ever again. Now I make 6 times the amount I made there per hour but now full time and with great benefits. It’s a horrible job, it does suck your brain out when you are there but you can be rehabilitated!

      Posted by Livvylove | July 18, 2013, 11:31 am
    • I would like to know the name of the nationwide company that would make such an offensive statement. My son took a summer job at Walmart. He is not a mindless robot, he is going to college and this was a way for him to make spending money for the upcoming fall and spring semesters. Like I said I would really like the name of this nationwide company!

      Posted by Linda Wilson | July 18, 2013, 1:48 pm
  5. I worked at a Wal-Mart in Western Kentucky…I loved working in the toy department until one day a manager was “helping” me stock baby dolls, when he said, “Hand me the box of N***** Babies.” I walkied away and reported the incident to his superior. I WAS MOVED TO THE MIDNIGHT DELI FREEZER and that ass-hat kept his job! The WM across town was alerted that the day-care center next door was on fire (Some of the employees had children staying there). After a few employees started to go over to help, the manager insisted that everyone be wearing a smock so the tv cameras would see wal-mart helping. This is a heartless organization that needs to be brought down a few pegs.

    Posted by BongoYoda | July 18, 2013, 11:26 am
  6. OK every company turns out mindless-robots, its what they live for. Wal-Mart is no worse than ANY other place – look at Golden Corral and what happened there. Wal-Mart serves a need, if they didn’t they would have closed a long time ago. Most you who read this blog probably don’t shop there anyway – so your words will have little impact, and your actions even less.

    Posted by indybear | July 18, 2013, 11:43 am
    • No EVERY company does NOT turn out mindless robots. That is just ridiculous. I’m so tired of people saying there isn’t a problem because “everybody is doing it”… Walmart does not serve a need, Walmart offsets the REAL cost of “things” by unfair labor practices and goods made in countries where workers are paid a pittance. Of COURSE we don’t shop there or only when we must…but do you think we don’t talk to people? We let them know what is going on and how it impacts them, others and the world around us all. Welcome to activism you’ll find it much more empowered than negativism.

      Posted by banchara | July 18, 2013, 12:19 pm
  7. Indybear, Wal-Mart is worse because it is so large and pervasive, and because when it enters a town, it drives out its competition (with low, low prices!) which it will then jack up again, once the competition is destroyed.

    I used to shop at Wal-Mart often, before I learned how much those low prices cost a community and our nation.

    Posted by delagar | July 18, 2013, 11:50 am
  8. Several times over the years before all this became public, I applied to work at WalMart, and got blown off every time. Now I see that I didn’t dodge a bullet, I dodged a freaking mortar shell!

    Posted by Sheila Jenkins | July 18, 2013, 12:48 pm
  9. im sorry but these things happen at many places, not just walmart. walmart is a huge chain so surely there’s bound to be some incidents. not that it makes it okay but theres numerous places you could go to for work and have these issues. the pay is low so it generally attracts more desperate people willing to put up with crap but it also can attract lower class uneducated people who will do these things. the forcing of employees to stay late is simple, get a tape recorder and record them deny you their rights and you’re covered. the constant sexual harassment? tape recorder, and you’re covered. it’s about getting educated on how to protect your rights.

    Posted by dess | July 18, 2013, 1:31 pm
    • It’s horrible. Places like Walmart, Golden Corral, McDonalds, and almost every large chain. I wish we had a Costcos or a Hyvee in my area…. They treat their employees right.

      Posted by Morgan Meric | July 18, 2013, 1:43 pm
      • Well I am glad Costco treats their employees “right” because they treat their customers badly!

        Posted by Linda Wilson | July 18, 2013, 2:05 pm
  10. “…there is no need for a union and any union activity is to be reported to management”, yet “if we unionized we would lose our jobs”…

    Good job, Walmart. Good job.

    Posted by Morgan Meric | July 18, 2013, 1:40 pm
  11. @ Linda Wilson..”Costco treats their customers badly” needs elaboration please.

    Posted by drvsingh | July 18, 2013, 2:47 pm
  12. Might I point out, as I work for walmart. Just a low cashier..so don’t worry about OMG It’s cooperate..Every walmart is run by the manager. Therefore, most of these stories are problems on the management level. As for boycotting, it isn’t going to help the people who work at walmart to boycott it. If you really care about them, that is. Our bonus’ come from profit. We depend on those bonus’ we get the four times a year to help us, if you boycott, our profits will go down and we will get nothing. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen. I agree, things could be a LOT better. But those are just a handful of stores in a chain around that goes around the world. You would have to go to EVERY walmart and poll every employee to find out more proof. You have to remember that it would be considered a poor management team, with no one reporting to home office (Who would have taken them -management- out right away.) that has caused those stories.

    Posted by DemonessLilith | July 18, 2013, 4:15 pm
    • It really sucks that you depend on those bonuses to survive, but the truth is that the very fact you depend on them makes sure that I will never shop there. I will NOT support poor labor practices. You want to make your working conditions better? Fight for them, form a union, strike. Actually stand up for yourself. Don’t ask us to bow down to the same hopelessness you unfortunately have.

      Posted by Justin Acuff | July 18, 2013, 4:18 pm
    • I’m sorry. I think it IS the upper levels that are at the root of all these atrocities. The CEO and major stockholders want to squeeze out every penny of profit they can, and i honestly believe they don’t care how it’s done. I’d bet you could report local management all day and as long as there was a good profit margin nothing would be done. I shop for groceries elsewhere and sometimes go to walmart for paper products, laundry detergent, etc. I am always very kind to employees there. And you won’t see me leaving a cart in the middle of the parking lot. It’s just a fact; the people who have the most control over walmart are unfeeling snakes.

      Posted by ann | July 18, 2013, 5:02 pm
    • Ex-Walmart employee. And while I agree with the bonus issue I will say the problem is not as easy as “complain to home office.” I was wrongfully terminated because my Store manager didn’t like me. He didn’t like me because I stood up to him when he screamed at me and called me a liar without listening to anything I was saying. Mind you I wasn’t lying about anything. He was mistaken and I was trying to correct his perception politely. After that I as treated poorly and they kept trying to find excuses to fire me. Finally they thought they did but it was due to having one tardy in 6 months. Hardly reason for termination. When I complained to my Market office I was reinstated only to be written up twice(once for the tardy and once for not showing up to work during the time I was terminated) in my first two days. They then tried to write me up a third time and fire me. When I told them I would be going another level up they offered my job back the next morning. All in all I have lost a whole week of wages in the last month due to their repeated attempts to fire me. I finally just told them I felt this had become too hostile of a work environment and left. I thankfully had another job waiting. And I will be bringing the issue as high as I have to just to try to improve things for my ex-coworkers. But the corruption in my case went up to the Market level at least since it was my Market Human Resources that INSISTED(her word not mine) that I be given a second write up for not coming to work during the time I was fired.

      Posted by Finally at peace | July 19, 2013, 1:16 pm
  13. I used to be an employee @ WalMart #5493 in Brownsville, TX. Personal experience, yes I agree. Walmart does under pay, mistreat, overwork, stress and pressures their associates. Its ridiculous how the associates do all the work while the managers get the bonuses. I remember one manager tlld me that she had received a $5000 plus bonus check. They cut hours when there was a holiday to a point where the holiday hours will total your 40(full time), plus on top of that they dont even pay time and a half for holiday pay. Its ridiculous. They even have a tendency to change the schedules of the associates without any notification and use it as an excuse to fire you. And when you file for unemployment they cover themselves for they wont have to pay a dime. Believe me i tell people when they ask me if walmart is a good place to work. I tell them its not. Evaluations they give are a joke as well. Reason being, that you can work and give it your all all year long to find an excuse to give you the minimum. Theres times where they deny your breaks and deny you the time to go to your meal when your are scheduled to. That happened to me a few times by the immediate supervisor. So yes stay away from there. Its not worth risking your health and your time to work there.

    Posted by Julio | July 18, 2013, 4:47 pm
  14. t’s sad that many people have no choice other than to work at Walmarts because it’s the only jobs that are available to them. They can’t take a stand as long as they are employed there; otherwise it’s the unemployment line for them. I know someone who has worked there many years, when it wasn’t such a bad place, but now she cries at the injustices that she and others have to put up with on the job.

    Posted by Bernadette Cason | July 19, 2013, 5:00 am
  15. My husband worked for Wal-Mart for over 20 years. He is the hardest working person I have ever known. However, he was in the minority at his job, mainly because Wal-Mart does not properly train, pay or support their employees. I am not surprised by any of the horror stories.

    Posted by Kendra | July 29, 2013, 8:47 am
  16. To DemonessLilith
    My uncle has worked for corporate Wal-Mart for as long as I can remember. His family took vacations every year, he bought brand new cars when his children were old enough, payed for them to go to the best schools in the state, they both had big expensive weddings and nice honeymoons…I hope you get the point. All on just what he made, my aunt does not work. I worked in a store in Oklahoma making minimum wage while trying to go to school (which amounted to eighteen hour days with no days off). Between rent and gas I was eating out of vending machines and not paying electricity much less for my non pell grant covered school. So, yeah, the only problem with Wal-Mart comes from managers of the individual stores.

    Posted by shadow | August 18, 2013, 6:01 pm
  17. I I worked at sams club for nearly 6 years. The injustices i endured. I worked normal duties as a cashier with a 10lb lifting restriction. Including having to move a 200lb trampoline by myself because the supervisor refused to help. Got written up for not being able to keep up with demand (food court). The team lead who was working with me decided to leave. I got slammed. I was sick and went into the er after work with a near fatal kidney infection. Brought the doctor note and still got written up. No compassion at all.

    Posted by mira | December 18, 2013, 6:37 am
  18. Ugh, I have horror stories of my own when I worked there briefly. The very first thing they had me do after hiring me was make me watch a bunch of videos about how horrible unions were and how they would just cause people to be fired or lower pay.

    One thing that really unnerved me was when they had me help fry the chickens. There were two women there and both had scars all up and down their arms from the grease. They were laughing and said ‘yeah you’ll get used to them!’ Sorry but, paying me poverty wages isn’t enough to let me happily allow myself to be scarred for life.

    Not to mention the times when we were yelled at for asking for a lunch break or often times being held a half hour or more over our quitting time without pay and stern words if we reminded our CSMs our shift ended a half hour ago.

    Posted by Jennifer | December 19, 2013, 7:02 am

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