In her nearly two years with Walmart, Miya’Neisha Johnson has typically worked about 20 hours a week at her Western Arkansas store, while pursuing a bachelor's degree. But lately, when her class schedule permits, Johnson has managed to pick up an extra shift or two a week, often logging more than 30 hours.
For Johnson, who's 20 years old, the additional hours are significant. They mean not only a bigger paycheck but also more on-the-job experience outside the apparel department.
"I've added anywhere from five to 12 hours a week," Johnson said. "It gives you a feel for working in other departments ... It's like building a resume." Johnson has found the extra work through a new Walmart program called Access to Open Shifts, which lets workers sift the internal scheduling system for available slots. Launched as a pilot program at her Walmart store in Fort Smith, Ark., about a year ago, the system will be made available at the retailer's more than 4,000 U.S. stores by next week. As it has expanded in recent months, the program has helped part-timers work their way closer to full-time schedules.
Walmart's Issues on Rules and Regulations
Many of the Walmart employees who took part in walkouts and protests over the past two years have criticized the company for limiting hours and opportunities for part-timers. Workers at some stores even submitted petitions asking the company to stop cutting hours and to make more people eligible for full-time status.
The Access to Open Hours program appears to address that very critique, although a Walmart spokesman said it would be "inaccurate" to characterize the program as a response to any protests.
"Our associates are the best generators of ideas," said Kory Lundberg, the spokesman. "They've been telling us they want to know what opportunities are there in the store. This is one way to bring a little more transparency to the folks in the store to see what's available ... We're excited about where this can go."
Cynthia Murray, a 14-year employee who works at the Walmart store in Laurel, Md., and is a member of OUR Walmart, a labor-backed employee group, said, "We fought for this from the beginning."
"We were very adamant about it that workers were not getting enough hours," she said.
Read full article: In Wake Of Protests, Walmart Workers Find More Hours Within Reach