Walmart Suddenly Closes Five Stores in the United States

June 17, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. temporarily / ˌtɛmpəˈrerəli / (adv.) – existing only for a set time
Example: Martina holds the store clerk position temporarily.

2. lay off / ˈleɪ ɔf / (v.) – to dismiss someone from a job
Example: The company had to lay off its employees because of bankruptcy.

3. plumbing / ˈplʌm ɪŋ / (n.) – structure or system of pipes that carry water throughout a building
Example: The building’s pipes are leaking because of poor plumbing.

4. protest / proʊ tɛst / (n.) – the act of objecting or going against something
Example: The employees will go on a protest against the company on Monday.

5. resolve / rɪˈzɒlv / (v.) – to find a solution
Example: The protesters want the issue to be resolved immediately.


Read the text below.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. or Walmart has temporarily closed five stores in four states without giving prior notice to its employees.

Employees were shocked as they heard the news only a few hours before all the stores closed. Walmart closed two of its stores in Texas, and one each in California, Oklahoma, and Florida. Because of this sudden shutdown, 2,200 employees, both full-time and part-time staff members, were laid off. Other employees were transferred to other stores.

The company explained that it had to close the stores because of ongoing plumbing issues, which include clogged pipes, broken toilet handles, and leaking urinals. According to Walmart, fixing these problems will take six months.

However, some employees believe that the real reason why Walmart closed the stores is to get back at those who started protests in Pico Rivera, California. Employees from the store in Pico Rivera went on strike in 2012 to ask for better pay and working conditions. Doubts about the real cause of the shutdown have also arisen as Walmart has no plumbing permits for all the closed stores yet.

Amanda Henneberg, a spokesperson from Walmart, said that the company will be addressing this issue as soon as possible. She also assured the employees that the stores will reopen once all of the plumbing issues have been resolved. For now, the company has given the affected employees two months’ worth of paid leaves.

Still, employees remain skeptical about the availability of jobs after the repair. Because of the said issues, employees from Pico Rivera have already filed an official complaint against Walmart with the National Labor Relations Board.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think Walmart’s reason for closing their stores is believable? Why or why not?
·         Should the company be punished for laying off many of its employees? Why?

Discussion B

·         Why is it important to have good communication between a company and its employees?
·         What do you think causes miscommunication between a company and its employees? 

June 17, 2015