Walmart's Worker Safety Debate - False Alarms and Cost Concerns Clash with New Legislation

Zinger Key Points
  • Walmart opposes New York law mandating panic buttons, citing concerns over false alarms and implementation costs.
  • Despite shareholder rejection of safety policy review, Walmart boosts worker benefits with bonuses and technician program.

Walmart Inc WMT has opposed the New York legislature’s new law requiring store panic buttons to enhance retail worker safety.

The New York State Senate recently passed legislation mandating large retail chains, including Walmart, to install easily accessible panic buttons or provide wearable or mobile-phone-activated ones for employees.

This law, a response to increasing threats of theft and violence, awaits Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature after passing the state Assembly, Reuters reported.

Also Read: Amazon Boosts Prime Benefits With Grubhub Partnership, Takes Aim At Walmart

Retail groups criticize the law due to the high cost of implementation.

Dan Bartlett, Walmart’s executive vice president of corporate affairs, expressed concerns about false alarms, stating that false alerts occur frequently.

Despite hiring its first chief safety officer in April to improve worker safety, Walmart remains opposed to the panic button measure, which would take effect in 2027 for retailers with over 500 employees nationwide.

Although Walmart is not unionized, the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union supports the bill.

At Walmart’s recent annual meeting, shareholders rejected a proposal for an independent review of the company’s workplace safety and violence policies.

Meanwhile, Walmart implemented initiatives for hourly employees. The company introduced bonuses for U.S. hourly workers and a new technician pipeline program to boost its technician workforce from 450 to 2,000 over the next two years.

Walmart stock gained over 28% in the last 12 months. Investors can gain exposure to the stock via SPDR Select Sector Fund – Consumer Staples XLP and Fidelity MSCI Consumer Staples Index ETF FSTA.

Price Action: WMT shares were trading higher by 1.52% at $66.88 premarket at the last check on Monday.

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of AI tools and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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