Walmart To Lay Off 3,000 Sam's Club Managers In The Name Of Customer Service

Walmart is dropping 3,000 Sam’s Club managers. according to an article in the WSJ. The managers, who used to be in charge of specific sections of the store (i.e. bakery, meat, photo). can now choose a severance package, quit, or remain on as hourly workers.

Why is Walmart doing this? To improve customer service, of course! From the WSJ:

“This is not about cost reduction; it’s about providing better service to our members,” [A Walmart Spokesperson] said.

Anyway, a copy of the severance package offered to the 3,000 managers flew in over the transom and it contains lots of severance-tastic clauses like “Cooperation”:

samsclub1.jpg Hey, at least when you testify in one of their 67 lawsuits alleging wage violations in 36 states, they’ll negotiate your expenses. And then there’s the “Releases” section which releases Walmart from Age Discrimination Claims as well as

“any claim for damages, costs, attorney fees, expenses, and compensation, whether known or unknown arising out of or related to the Associate’s employment with Wal-Mart or the separation thereof. The Associate also releases any and all claims rhe Associate may have have that arose prior to the date of this Agreement, and specifically waives and releases all claims under Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and any and all state or local statutes, ordinances, or regulations. The Associate also waives all claims arising under federal, state, or local law involving wrongful discharge, intentional infliction of emotional stress, the tort of outrage, or any other contract or tort claims. “

Now, this might be the most standard severance package in the history of the universe, but it does occur to us that Walmart certainly had to waive a lot of laws in order to provide “better service to our members.” The Wall Street Journal points out that the largest of Walmart’s 67 lawsuits is “a sex-discrimination suit that involves 1.5 million past and present female workers.” —MEGHANN MARCO


Wal-Mart Moves to Trim Manager Jobs at Sam’s Club
[WSJ]

Sam’s Club Severance Package (PDF)

Comments

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  1. mopar_man says:

    So, if I’m understanding this right, they’re firing all these managers so that only the employees are able to handle customer complaints? If a customer comes in and wants to talk to a manager, they’re SOL? Brilliant, Wal-mart, brilliant.

  2. dbeahn says:

    Customer: “I’ve been a Sam’s Club Member for 20 years and I want to speak to a manager!”

    Associate: “(laughing) – yeah, we don’t have those anymore. No, I’m not authorized to approve that. No, we don’t have managers anymore. Are you getting the picture now?”

  3. chrisgoh says:

    To play devils advocate, if they fired 3,000 managers and replaced them with 6,000 cashiers/floor employees, I think this would improve service. Overall, I like Sam’s club, my issues with them are too long of waits at the checkout and the lack of ability to find an employee on the floor on the rare occasion one is needed.

  4. ColinColin says:

    If they can ‘stay on as hourly employees’ it seems to me that they will have the flexibility to better staff the stores at peak times instead of having regimented shifts.

  5. chimmike says:

    Wal mart/sams asst. managers are overworked underpaid peons that buy into the scheme of the company. They should take the severance and run, work for a better company and make more money.

    Sams club is the pitts to work for, and the assistant managers try to push the scheme on everyone (I think to reinforce their day because they truthfully know the company doesn’t give a rats ass about them)

  6. Red_Eye says:

    Hmm seems to me since they are eliminating a business unit or group that they would have had to comply with the WARN Act http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worker_Adjustment_and_Retrain

    But I could be wrong, hopefully some smart lawyer will figure it out.

  7. storm says:

    I draft severance agreements like that all the time. The reason they list all of those laws is that (1) it’s the lawyer’s job to do it; (2) those laws require explicit waivers.

    They can’t force anyone to sign them, either, btw.

  8. gopher646 says:

    I briefly worked at a Sam’s Club one summer in college. It was the worst place I’ve ever worked at. All of the older people that worked there raved about how great of a company it was. Thankfully I got out while I did… and now it looks like it’s their turn.

  9. r81984 says:

    Walmart is built on increasing quality and decreasing costs.
    Why have 10 managers in a store when you could hire 40 employees for the same price and train them to make decsions managers make?
    This saves money and increases customer service because you now have 40 employees who can help you instead of a bunch of drones and only 10 managers that can help you.
    If Wal-Mart does not do drastic cost cutting like this they would not be the #1 retailer in the world.

    Wal-Mart competes with every retailer/person in the world because of ebay and the internet. If they cannot undercut everyone in the world they could fail.

  10. SOhp101 says:

    Costco FTW. They treat their employees #3.

    In case you’re wondering, obeying the law is #1, customers are #2.

  11. humphrmi says:

    @chrisgoh:

    my issues with them are too long of waits at the checkout and the lack of ability to find an employee on the floor on the rare occasion one is needed.

    This has been a problem at Sam’s Club for a long time – I left 10 years ago because I was tired of waiting 45 minutes in a check-out line and an hour to find an associate if I wanted to buy something I couldn’t load onto my cart myself.

    So one more problem: they don’t fix their mistakes.

  12. b612markt says:

    Yet another reason I avoid Wal-Mart and Sam’s like the plague. Fortunately in Chicago the Wal-Mart stores are few and far between. I was in Fort Worth recently and was truly shocked at the proliferation of Wal Mart and Sam’s Club stores. Consumers vote with their dollars, and they’re voting for Wal-Mart.

  13. scuba96 says:

    Wal-Mart has never been about increasing quality and lower prices. They have been about low prices, low quality, therefore you must return to buy the same items each and every month.

    FWIW, If you buy that Wal-Mart (Sam’s Club) is going to hire 4 for every 1 they let go, and they are doing this for Customer Service…..well you deserve to shop at Wal-Mart.

  14. misplaced says:

    I know first-hand about the Sam’s Club Management Restructure. I am one of the manager’s that had to apply for the management position I had held for many years. Supposedly, I ‘didn’t interview well’. I don’t understand how they can base their decision on an interview, that in my opinion, should not have happened in the first place. I think it should have been based on job performance, member service, commitment, associate relations, etc. Of course, the higher-ups that interviewed everyone, do not spend enough time in the Clubs to see how their manager’s interact with the members and their associates. If they are claiming they are doing this to improve member service, they are mistaken. Many of the everyday member’s that I have come to know on a first name basis are very upset that I was replaced. They tell me that I am the most friendly, hard working, caring manager in the building.

    Wal-Mart/ Sam’s Club have 3 Basic Beliefs…the first being RESPECT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL. Let me tell you, I DO NOT feel ANY respect. I feel like I have been taken from a job I loved and put into an hourly position that I hate. Of course there is a HUGE pay cut of almost $10,000 per year. How can they say they respect the individual and do this to 3,000 managers?
    For those who think there are NO managers, they are wrong. There are still managers in the Clubs.Three management positions were “safe”. Those were the Merch1 manager, now the Grocery Manager, Merch 2, renamed Hardlines Manager, and the Marketing Manager, now the Membership Manager. The other manager’s, (Meat, Front End, Receiving, Photo, Optical), had to re-apply for their positions, which were reduced to 3 positions. Those positions are the Fresh Departments Manager, Operations Manager, and Overnight Receiving manager. The photo and optical positions were deleted all together. So, that means out of 3 positions available, there were at least five people applying for those positions. There could be more applicants, because the other “safe” managers could apply for these positions also. And they ARE NOT hiring more floor associates or cashiers. So, the long lines and waiting for someone to help you throughout the Club will not improve. Sorry. Just stating the facts.
    I would really like to hear form other misplaced managers and get your thoughts on this subject.
    in the meantime…have a SAMS-tastic day!!! NOT!!

  15. misplaced says:

    @chimmike: I have been with Sam’s Club for almost nine years, and am one of those misplaced managers offered a severance package of less than $8,000. Plus, if you sign that agreement, you are giving up all your rights, but if they need you to testify for them, you are required to do so.

  16. dmcdani3 says:

    I worked at Sam’s club…It’s better to leave. I did and I never looked back.

  17. Charley_Martel says:

    I always look forward to Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club posts so I can feel the hate of the Wal-Mart hating Union thugs.

    However, in this case, Sam’s is firing a bunch of Management Stooges, so you should be happy, right?

    More folks for you to try to organize.

    As for the Sam’s v. Costco debate, I’m still waiting for the apology from anyone associated with Costco for selling me a “Grey Market” Tag-Heuer with filed-off serial numbers that was almost seized by the factory service center when it was taken in for service.

    And I’m sure that the day will come when the “friendly” Teamster’s Union/Costco employees will actually speak to me rather than the Union Brother with whom they are considering the weiehty subject of who’s still on Dancing with the Stars.