Under pressure, Wal-Mart upgrades its policy for helping pregnant workers (Washington Post, 4/5/14)
But women’s rights groups say they hadn’t encountered any large employer with a pregnancy policy so unfriendly to women as Wal-Mart’s. And anytime the world’s biggest retailer changes how it treats its workforce — especially women, with whom the company has a fraught history — the rest of the industry tends to take notice.
Wal-Mart Swears Its New Pregnancy Policy Has Nothing to Do With Outside Pressure (Bloomberg Businessweek, 4/7/14)
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), the nation’s largest retailer and biggest employer of women, has done something unusual: It has improved its pregnancy policies. The changes took effect in March and were reported by the Washington Post on April 5. This morning, OUR Walmart (the union-backed group calling for higher wages and better working conditions) claimed victory. So did three legal organizations. Wal-Mart says it wasn’t responding to outside pressure; it was just looking for ways to help its employees. The timing must be a coincidence.
Beroid featured prominently in a Saturday story by the Washington Post’s Lydia DePillis, reporting that Wal-Mart had issued a new policy stating that women “may be eligible for reasonable accommodation” if necessitated by “temporary disability caused by pregnancy.” That change represents a partial fulfillment of the demands of union-backed non-union group OUR Walmart, and its campaign “Respect the Bump.” Beroid alleged to Salon it was the Post story that spurred multiple managers to castigate her in a same-day meeting over a supposed infraction that she said had never been an issue in the past. A Wal-Mart spokesperson denied that allegation, telling Salon in an email that it was “unrelated” and regarded as “a separate work performance issue.”
In Wake Of Protests, Walmart Workers Find More Hours Within Reach (Huffington Post, 4/7/14)
Many of the Walmart employees who took part in walkouts and protests over the past two years have criticized the company for limiting hours and opportunities for part-timers. Workers at some stores even submitted petitions asking the company to stop cutting hours and to make more people eligible for full-time status. The Access to Open Hours program appears to address that very critique, although a Walmart spokesman said it would be “inaccurate” to characterize the program as a response to any protests.