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Walmart Workers Reportedly Are Bracing for Job Cuts

Walmart workers are bracing for job cuts as the retailer rolls out its ‘Great Workplace’ program, a sweeping overhaul of how the company staffs its big-box stores.

Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report workers are bracing for job cuts as the retail giant rolls out its "Great Workplace" program, a sweeping overhaul of how the company staffs its 5,300-plus big-box stores.

The Washington Post reported that Walmart is telling employees that it is doing away with hourly supervisor and assistant store manager positions and replacing them with smaller roles that carry more responsibilities, in many cases for the same pay.

The article, published on the same day the Bentonville, Ark. company reported earnings and sales that missed analysts' forecasts, follows the company's announcement almost a year ago that it was testing a staffing overhaul dubbed the “Great Workplace” initiative.

According to interviews with current and former store employees as well as internal documents obtained by the Post, the transition, outlined in a 31-week blueprint distributed to store managers, has resulted in confusion and, more relevant, layoffs.

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The document, obtained by the Post, directs managers to identify and meet with affected workers and provides “talking points” on what to say to employees who are not selected for their preferred positions.

On Week 25, the document said, store managers should “follow standard termination procedures for any active associate who has not been selected for another position in the company.”

“Terminations are part of the plan,” Bianca Agustin, research director for United for Respect, an employee group that advocates for workers’ rights, told the Post. “It’s clear that mid-level management positions are being eliminated. These are valuable employees who have been there a long time and have worked their way up the corporate ladder.”

Walmart reported on Tuesday that it expects fiscal 2021 earnings of $5 to $5.15 a share, below Wall Street forecasts of $5.21 a share. 

Shares of Walmart were up about 1% at $119.08 in trading on Tuesday.