Walmart has a dress code? Well, we’re not referring to the spandex-wearing, tiny crop-top and oh-so-small denim shorts. That customer look is widely accepted in our nation’s number one big box retailer. But Walmart wants to elevate the dress of their tens of thousands of workers here in the U.S., and has trotted out a dress code policy that some are unhappy with. So much so, that labor activists are now involved.
Writes the Huffington Post: “Richard Reynoso, a Walmart employee working in a southern California store, sent a letter to Walmart’s corporate headquarters on Monday, claiming that he couldn’t afford to comply with a new company dress code that takes effect on September 29. It was written on letterhead with the logo of OUR Walmart, a union-backed organization advocating for Walmart workers.”
The new dress policy calls for a standardized look – black or khaki pants (no jeans), along with a collared blue or white shirt. Sounds simple enough, but the mandate is rankling workers like Reynoso, who says he can’t afford to make the changeover.
“The sad truth is that I do not have $50 lying around the house to spend on new uniform clothes just because Walmart suddenly decided to change its policy,” he wrote. “If I have to go out of pocket for these new clothes, I’m going to have to choose which bill to skip.”
Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg said the new dress policy was driven by feedback collected from multiple stores – customers and even other employees reportedly could not tell who the workers were. Lundberg added that the letter appears to be nothing more than a sounding board for union leverage.
“We always want to hear from our associates, it makes us a better company,” Lundberg said to HuffPost. “I find it odd that this letter came from the Washington DC office of the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) and not from California, where the associate who signed it is from. I think that context helps most reasonable people better understand the letter.”
But Gawker obtained several comments left by Walmart workers on its employee-only website. One such irate worker said:
I sent an email to our wonderful new CEO because he said he was “listening” and wanted feedback well guess what? No one is listening to the associates or the customers for that matter not even him. Let’s face it Walmart is not a family anymore and they are not a customer center. They don’t care as long as they are collecting their paychecks and bonuses.
We, the ones that do the physical work, will be the ones to continue to suffer and our poor customers. I used to absolutely love my job and now I pray every night that I can find another one and leave this one. I work 2 jobs; Walmart is my part time job but I work these 2 jobs for a reason, to take care of my family. It is pretty bad that my full time job is an administrative assistant in a law office and I can wear jeans there, but I can’t wear jeans in a grocery store. This whole mess is just nonsense.
Fair to ask the employees to dip into their pockets and dress it up a tad? Or should Walmart pay for the clothing upgrade? Sound off below. While you’re thinking about it, remember that better a Walmart worker than one of these Walmart customers.