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Ah yes: 'hire the handicapped" month...

We put this up in our News Department but I wanted to note it here as well, and add a comment:

An internal Wal-Mart memo suggests that the company "discourage unhealthy job applicant" in order to hold down insurance costs. The presence of the memo has been reported by CNN, the New York Times and in other news outlets.

From the New York Times:

In the memorandum, M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits, also recommends reducing 401(k) contributions and wooing younger, and presumably healthier, workers by offering education benefits. The memo voices concern that workers with seven years' seniority earn more than workers with one year's seniority, but are no more productive.

To discourage unhealthy job applicants, Ms. Chambers suggests that Wal-Mart arrange for "all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering)."

Well, I suppose this is a fitting close to the traditional "hire the handicapped" month of October. Or, "hire the handicapped - NOT." For another sobering view of what's happening on the employment front for disabled people, read our CloserLook story on the two federal laws passed years ago to help disabled people with jobs. The programs are helping, a Senate committee learned last week: they're helping the program's executives get rich. For disabled people, though, it's sheltered workshop time. That story's here.

View the PDF of the memo at WalMartWatch.

A 10/28 New York Times editorial praises Wal-Mart's thinking. More here.


Those lousy bastards. At my local Sam's Club, a story was in the paper about this kind of thing a year or two ago. This physically and developmentally disabled woman who used a scooter worked there as a greeter. She loved her job - it was really all she had in life to keep her occupied. It was her social outlet, her source of income, etc. Then the people from higher up decided they'd had enough of that nonsense, and changed her job requirement - saying that she had to push carts around too. It was balogna. Nobody there agreed with it and the people who pushed the carts didn't care - they were happy to push the carts nearby. But nooooo. They fired her, after years and years of appreciated service. She was completely crushed. The community was outraged. Still, nothing changed.

If you ask me, Wal-Mart went down the toilet after old Sam died. His kids are evil.

Maybe a Wal-Mart boycott is in order.

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