The Mercury News Weekend
Walmart gives notice to hundreds of workers
>> Walmart, which already announced the closing of more than a dozen stores across the country, now has told hundreds of workers at five sites that fulfill e-commerce orders that they have 90 days to find jobs at other company locations.
The decision affects about 200 workers in Pedricktown, New Jersey. Hundreds of others at Chino; Fort Worth, Texas; Davenport, Florida; and
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania were let go due to a reduction or elimination in evening and weekend shifts, a Walmart spokesperson told Reuters.
The layoffs are significant, Reuters said, because Walmart is a retail bellwether because of its size. The job reductions could signal further turmoil in the U.S. economy, which many economists predict could enter recession this year.
Affected workers will be paid for 90 days to find jobs at other fulfillment centers, including new high-tech centers in Joliet, Illinois, and Lancaster, Texas, or at any of Walmart's 5,000 U.S. stores and facilities, Walmart said. The company has been investing heavily in automation over the past few years, seeking to reduce the number of steps it takes employees to process e-commerce orders, according to Reuters.
Walmart has drawn national attention for a series of store closures announced in recent weeks.
In December, CEO Doug McMillon warned an increase in theft could force the retailer to either raise prices or close stores if the problem continued.
“Theft is an issue. It's higher than what it has historically been,” he told CNBC's “Squawk Box.”
In March the company announced it would shutter its last two stores in Portland, Oregon's largest city, by the end of month that it said were not meeting financial expectations. Portland also has been grappling with retail theft, prompting police to run sweeps through some business districts.