Posted by James Zhang
As the largest private employer that accommodates a large workforce for people with disabilities, Walmart has started to eliminate greeter position at 1,000 of its locations across the nation. Walmart has announced that the greeter position will be replaced by “custom host.” Since people with physical disabilities usually fill the greeter position, this job change announced by Walmart has generated a backlash among the American public and has been viewed as discriminatory in nature. On social media, people have started their deliberation on this issue since last week, when retail giant started to phase out greeter positions.
Starting from February 22, over the past week, the overall volume of social media conversation regarding Walmart’s job change is 131,000 posts. On March 1, the number of posts on Twitter has reached out to more than 5,000.
The top 3 of the most frequent words that have been discussed on different social media forums so far are “Walmart,” “greeters,” and “disabled.” Specifically, concerning the word “greeter,” social media users either put out the sarcastic tweet to mock Walmart’s inconsiderate job change or directly to say that Walmart was not right at all. Traditional news media, on the other hand, had tweeted about Walmart’s recent response to the public’s backlash. In terms of another frequently mentioned word, “disabled,” one online user directly said that disabled greeters were doing a real job and this position was deemed essential for customers.
The overall sentiment on social media regarding Walmart’s move on replacing the position of people greeters is negative. Specifically, more than 55 percent of social media posts have shown negativity. This is understandable since Walmart’s decision is viewed by most of public as less considerate and discriminatory.
So far, the ones who have been driving social media conversation concerning Walmart’s decision on job change are news media. ABC News, for instance, had tweeted one feature story of one disabled Walmart greeter about his struggle of keeping his jobs. This tweet is highly influential on the Twitter-sphere. In a similar vein, CNN had also focused on those disables by tweeting that their job security was in danger after Walmart’s elimination decision. News media for sure has been serving a watchdog role that vigilantly keeps those powerful accountable and informing the public simultaneously, no matter they are politicians or giant businesses.
With follow-up news reports on Walmart’s announcement on “trying best to keep disabled people’s job,” the public will continue to pour their attention into and keep their eyes on the Walmart’s next move.