Instead of prices, Walmart is rolling back healthcare coverage for part-time workers and raising premiums for full-time staff.
A few years ago, after being rightly criticized because many of its workers could not afford or did not qualify for healthcare coverage, Walmart expanded coverage to include all employees – including part-time employees – and their families.
However, this week Walmart told its employees that all future part-time employees who work less than 24 hours a week on average will no longer qualify for any of the company’s health insurance plans. Also, any new employees who average 24 hours to 33 hours a week will no longer be able to include a spouse as part of their healthcare plan, although children can still be covered. Walmart will also increase premiums for some plans by more than 40 percent.
While it’s not surprising to us that Walmart went back on its word and slashed employee benefits the reality is that any non-union employer can do the same. Only when workers form a union and have the power of a collective bargaining agreement is an employer required to negotiate changes to wages, hours, and working conditions. The drastic steps made by Walmart management show again how important it is for workers to have a voice on the job and a seat at the table to ensure they can influence decisions that dramatically affect their lives.