Walmart's "guest hosts" will continue to welcome customers but will have additional and physically demanding responsibilities, which means the elimination of greeters.
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While Walmart plans to replace its users with guest hosts, the stores "are taking specific steps to support" disabled employees affected by the change, officials said Thursday.
Greg Foran, President and CEO of Walmart US, sent a memorandum to all store managers on Thursday describing the transition and explaining how "every case requires a thoughtful solution."
Hosts still welcome customers but assume more physically demanding responsibilities than home users, who have been part of the company since the early 1980s. Some of the greeters are disabled, but the exact number does not. was not available.
"As it can happen sometimes, this change has created a conversation both externally and internally, particularly with respect to disabled associates," writes Foran in a two-page memo.
The stores began telling affected workers that their jobs could be compromised more than a week ago. There is usually a 60-day period for affected workers to apply for other positions in the company while retaining their current job.
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Walmart replaces greeters with guest hosts. (Photo: GETTY)
However, for disabled associates affected by the changes, Foran said the company had "extended the current 60-day transition period while exploring the circumstances and potential adaptations that would be appropriate for each person".
Since the announcement of the change, Foran said, Walmart has made offers to a number of visitors, including those with a physical disability.
"We hope that this will continue to be the case for many others throughout the country in the coming weeks," he said.
Jay Melton, who worked as a greeter at a Walmart in Marion, North Carolina, is one of the affected employees. An online petition was launched so that Melton, who has cerebral palsy and can not walk without help, is kept in the store.
Marion Walmart posted on Facebook that Melton will stay.
"We are very pleased to announce that Jay has accepted a position as a self-paying host," said the publication on Facebook. "Jay has been in our store for 17 years and is well known in our community, so please congratulate him on his new position!"
In his memo, Foran said that he was proud of the chain's history of "being an employer of choice for people with disabilities".
Walmart officials said that after the greeters passed to the hosts of more than 1,000 stores in 2016, 80-85% of all concerned greeters found other roles at Walmart.
"We are confident that we are taking the appropriate steps to do what is necessary for the company, while treating the employees concerned with the respect and assistance they deserve during the transition to new opportunities, "said Foran.
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