Five Ways CEO McMillon Can Change the Direction of Walmart

Originally posted on Making Change at Walmart

BlackSheepFor two years Walmart workers have been bravely and courageously speaking out for change at Walmart. As Doug McMillon becomes the CEO of the largest private employer, there are five simple things he could publicly commit to do in order to improve the quality of jobs Walmart provides.

1)Pay workers a minimum of $25,000 a year.
Last fall, in an address to Goldman Sachs, Walmart US CEO Bill Simon bragged that “over 475,000 (Walmart) Associates earned more than $25,000 last year.” It looks like he didn’t count on us doing the math, because that leaves the vast majority – as many as 825,000 US workers – making less than just $25,000 annually. Walmart can afford to pay workers enough to raise a family if it chooses.

2)Schedule workers for enough hours so they can afford to care for their families.
While increasing hourly wages could help lift an enormous number of Walmart workers out of poverty, it is really only one piece of a two-pronged problem. Walmart considers fulltime work to be 32 hours a week and many workers don’t even get that. Many would like the opportunity to work fulltime, but Walmart has instead opted to use more part-time and temp workers. In order to really address the issue of poverty among its workers, Walmart needs to start giving workers the hours they need to be able to feed their families.

3) End illegal retaliation against workers who speak out for change.
Walmart is notorious for its anti-worker stance. This has led not only to worker dissatisfaction, but to legal woes as well. The National Labor Relations Board recently issued a complaint against the company for illegally retaliating against workers who speak out for change. After workers went on strike in the summer of 2013, in a calculated effort to discourage others from standing up, Walmart fired or disciplined more than 60 of those who participated. It is likely that Walmart will also face claims of defrauding contracted warehouse workers, many of whom have also reported experiencing retaliation.

4) Respect the people who work for you.
Chief among worker concerns is one shift that would cost the company nothing. Workers often note how they are bullied and treated disrespectfully at work. Changing this culture of intimidation would go a long way to improving labor relations. Best of all, it’s absolutely free!

5) Listen to your employees.
Along the same lines of respect, one of Sam Walton’s keys to success was his famous emphasis on listening to his employees. Many of the issues (unkempt and unstocked stores) that plagued Walmart in 2013 could have been avoided had home office had better communication with its workers.