Walmart Holds Graduation for Workers, Sparking Debate

Walmart is a massive corporation that employs some 2.3 million people worldwide.

It’s one of the companies that has the most employees who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, aka “food stamps.” There were pieces highlighting this fact published in 2014, and it appears that not much has changed in 2020. The retailer has been criticized for paying its workers low wages. Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments and a vocal proponent of wage equality, even alleged that “Walmart pays its employees so little that its on-boarding process has info on how to sign up for food stamps and Medicaid. How come the workers are ‘lazy freeloaders’ but Walmart is just a ‘smart business?’”

The company now starts employees at $12 per hour.

In a TikTok video that has been viewed 4.5 million times in one day Walmart employees attend a “graduation ceremony” from computer-based training courses. “Back when I worked at Walmart.. They really had the audacity to make employees participate in a ‘graduation’ from the computer course,” TikToker @BabyDandMe wrote in the caption of the video.

@babydandme Back when I worked at Walmart.. They really had the audacity to make employees participate in a “graduation” from the computer courses 💀🤣 #cantmakethisup #walmart #funny #why #graduation ♬ We Not Humping – Remix – Monaleo & Flo milli

The employees’ apparent friends and family members are in attendance. They are sitting on borrowed store seats that would later on be sold at the same Walmart, as evidenced by the tags dangling off some of the chairs.

Viewers criticized the ceremony in the comments section and expressed hope the workers got paid for the time spent at it.

“Please tell me that y’all were clocked in for this,” one said.

“They got money to pay for cap and gowns but no money to pay y’all a living wage,” another wrote.

“There’s a whole side of Walmart I ain’t never seen,” another joked.

Others called out the cashier-less registers they say they often see at Walmart locations.

“Walmart doing too much just to hardly have any cashiers open at their registers,” one said.

“Meanwhile ain’t nobody on the damn registers,” another wrote.

The TikToker clarified in the comments section that the reason why she was recording the ceremony as because “we all thought it was funny and dumb.”

Judging from other user responses to the clip, it doesn’t seem like the graduation ceremony was a universal experience for workers. It does seem these ceremonies have occurred at least more than once, however. News outlet KOAM reported on a Joplin, Missouri, Walmart Training Academy.

“The academy is typically a two week program teaching retail skills one week, and department specific skills the next,” it reported.

The outlet reported that the Academy was also a way for proactive employees to try and attain higher positions within the company. “Many of them have moved up, not only to be department managers but to be hourly supervisors across other areas of the store and some up to assistant managers as well. Over seventy percent of our managers are hired from hourly ranks,” Karisa Sprague, senior vice president of Walmart operations for the North Central division, said at the time.

In 2022, the retailer also announced that it would debut a “College2Career” program, which promises new college graduates a “fast track” to high paying upper management positions within the company, some that pay as much as $210,000 a year.

The Daily Dot reached out to @BabyDandMe via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: Jun 6, 2022, 9:24 am CDT

Jack Alban

Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot covering trending human interest/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and facts pertinent to these stories to create your not-so-average viral post.

Jack Alban

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