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Walmart's Layoffs Raise Serious Questions

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Walmart's Sam's Club shocked more than 11,000 of its workers yesterday morning when it called them in to a meeting and laid them off without warning. The reason for the layoffs? Outsourcing. But not to China. Or anywhere overseas.

Rather they are being outsourced to the same associates who have been doing the jobs.

Ten thousand of the workers who were let go demonstrated products at Sam's Club stores, giving shoppers samples of food or health products. But now Shopper Events, a company based in Arkansas (just a stone's throw away from Walmart's corporate headquarters), will take over all of the product sampling for Walmart and Sam's Club. Shoppers Events is described as, "the only authorized in-store event-planning company for Walmart".

Shopper Events will be hiring around 10,000 positions to fill the gap of the layoffs. Walmart has suggested that employees who were laid off can apply for a job with Shopper Events, since they will be hiring.

In essence, Walmart has fired more than 10,000 workers and told them they have to apply for their job again.

As if this wasn't bad enough, Walmart has demanded that laid off workers waive their right to sue for discrimination as a condition of receiving their severance pay. According to workers who contacted us, they were asked to sign a waiver promising not to sue Walmart for gender, racial or age discrimination.

These actions raise serious questions. Were older and more senior workers targeted for lay off? Why hasn't Walmart made a clearer path to employment with Shopper Events for these 11,000 associates - which they clearly have the power to do? And for workers hired by the outsourced company, what kind of jobs will Shoppers Events provide to the new applicants? Why is Walmart telling workers they must agree not to pursue age discrimination claims in order to qualify for severance pay?

Walmart and Sam's Club workers seeking additional assistance and answers are encouraged to contact Walmart Workers for Change at 866-587-2299 or log on to