Despite President Obama’s assurances that the economy is rebounding, residual effects of the ongoing recession have resulted in more job losses.
Among the major firms cutting jobs is retail powerhouse Wal-Mart, which said Jan. 24 that it would lay off 11,200 workers at its Sam’s Club division. The Arkansas-based company, which has boasted assets of at least $400 billion, said it has also cut 1,200 membership recruiting employees and put a freeze on hiring.
“We are doing all we can to make the transition as smooth as possible for consistent with Sam’s Club values,” President and CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement. “In addition to providing severance pay and benefits for eligible associates, we are working to find opportunities at other clubs and in Wal-Mart stores.”
The cuts would equal approximately 19 employees at each of the more than 600 Sam’s Club locations. Those positions, mostly part-time jobs, paid between $12 and $15 per hour, the company said.
Media sources claim that Sam’s Club has not been as profitable over the past few years, and has not been effective in competing with similar warehouse giants like Costco and BJ’s.
But according to the online trade publication Retail Industry, representatives for Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club described the layoffs as a normal payroll adjustment that had little to do with the weak economy. They said that the layoffs were designed to bring the wholesale club’s costs in line with expenses.
The company did not specify how many jobs would be cut from specific stores, and Wal-Mart spokeswoman Ashley Hardie told the AFRO that Wal-Mart would have no further comment on the cuts.
The company said that, of its 1.2 million workers nationwide at more than 3,500 stores, approximately 250,000 are African-American.
Wal-Mart has been criticized in the past for its alleged treatment of African-American workers, offering them low wages and poor healthcare benefits. However, the company said it has donated more than $1 million to aid the earthquake-ravaged country of Haiti.