What to Know
- Two Walmart stores in New Jersey are testing a program that has workers deliver packages ordered online to customers on their commute home
- Walmart says it allows employees to earn extra money for something that's already part of their routine, and customers get packages quicker
- Labor experts say the arrangement could be ripe for abuse if the company doesn't compensate for things like gas and tickets
Two Walmart stores in New Jersey are testing a new program that will have employees personally deliver online packages to customers in the area.
The company says it will leverage its existing shipping routes and fulfillment centers to expand delivery options for customers.
"We already have trucks moving orders from fulfillment centers to stores for pickup," Walmart said in a blog post announcing the pilot program. "Those same trucks could be used to bring ship-to-home orders to a store close to their final destination, where a participating associate can sign up to deliver them to the customer's house."
"The best part is this gives our own associates a way to earn extra income on their existing drive home," the company said.
The program is voluntary, and workers can choose the size of the packages they want to deliver, and which days they can make deliveries after work.
"Once they're done working at the store for the day, they pick up the packages from the backroom, load them into their vehicle, enter the delivery addresses into the GPS on their phone and head toward home," the company says.
Packages will be allocated in a way to minimize the total distance workers would have to go out of their way during their commute home.
Two stores in New Jersey and one in northwest Arkansas are testing out the program. It's not clear which stores in New Jersey are testing the program. A message was left with the company.
Walmart says the response has been positive, with more orders being delivered the next day and associates being able to earn extra cash on their routine commute home. The company is touting the program as a potential "game-changer," noting that its 4,700 stores across the U.S. puts it within 10 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population.
But a CUNY labor professor says the arrangement could be "ripe for abuse" if the company doesn't compensate employees for gas, car depreciation and potential accidents or tickets.
"Like other 'gig economy' type jobs, there is a potential to benefit workers -- but in reality, most of the benefits accrue to the employer, not the employee," Stephanie Luce told The Washington Post.
The company already partners with ride-sharing services like Uber, Lyft and Deliv to deliver groceries in Phoenix, Denver and Miami, The Washington Post reports.