Short as the life of a fruit fly, Wal-Mart’s “open availability” workshift policy we wrote about yesterday has been cancelled. Apparently, Wal-Mart’s home office realized how anti-family the policy of forcing workers to be available anytime for any shift would appear to the public, and so backed away. The Charleston Gazette called the plan “a hard-line scheduling policy” and said the manager who instituted it “made a mistake.” Workers at the Nitro, West Virginia store were informed that they had to agree to work any shift from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., any day of the week, or else lose their jobs. Several single mothers complained they would have to quit, because local day care was not available after business hours or on the weekends. A Wal-Mart corporate office spokesman stepped in to chastise his overzealous local manager. “It is unfortunate that our store manager incorrectly communicated a message that was not only inaccurate but also disruptive to our associates at the store,” the spokesman lamented. “We do not have any policy that mandates termination” when employees cannot work certain shifts. The local manager, however, told his workers that it was Wal-Mart HQ that had ordered the new rule during a conference call from Bentonville, Arkansas. “We will also appropriately deal with the poor decision that our store manager made,” the home office spokesman warned. The local store manager is appropriately named John Knuckles.
For background on the short, unhappy life of the “always” work plan at Wal-Mart, search Newsflash by the word “always.”