Wal-Mart’s New Labor

by Jonah Goldberg

I find this development fascinating for what it could hold for the future. Whether it’s good or bad, remains to be seen. And, even if it’s bad, whether the government has any business doing anything about it, is also a debate for another day. From the WSJ:

The nation’s biggest private employer is about to revamp the way it schedules its work force, in a move that could shake up many employees’ lives.

Early this year, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., using a new computerized scheduling system, will start moving many of its 1.3 million workers from predictable shifts to a system based on the number of customers in stores at any given time. The move promises greater productivity and customer satisfaction for the huge retailer but could be a major headache for employees.

The change is made possible by a software system that can crunch an array of data, part of a shift toward computerized management tools that can help pare costs and boost companies’ bottom lines. But it also could demand greater flexibility and availability from workers in place of reliable work shifts — and predictable paychecks.

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