Retired Walmart employee shares her experience and thoughts on w - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Retired Walmart employee shares her experience and thoughts on walk-out talks

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Kay Bryan Jones started her career at Walmart in 1982. She's recently written about her experience at Walmart in a new book titled, 'The American Retailer: A 20 year journey with Walmart.' Kay Bryan Jones started her career at Walmart in 1982. She's recently written about her experience at Walmart in a new book titled, 'The American Retailer: A 20 year journey with Walmart.'

1.3 million people work at Walmart nationwide. Many of those workers are planning to strike on Thanksgiving, potentially throwing the hustle and bustle of Black Friday into pure chaos.

Walmart is the second largest corporation in the world with nearly $450 billion in revenues each year. But workers talking about walk-outs and unionizing doesn't surprise one local woman who shares the good, the bad, and the ugly truths about working for the retail giant for more than 20 years in her book. 

Kay Bryan Jones started her career at Walmart in 1982. She worked 60-80 hours a week for 20 years.
 
"It was a wonderful company when I went to work for them and I think they could be again, but I think they've lost their focus," Kay said.

Kay says she worked when founder Sam Walton was alive, when she says the company was entirely different.

"They used to talk about the Walmart culture when Sam was alive, and the Walmart culture is gone," Kay told 14 News.

The culture, she says, revolved around family relationships, taking care of customers and associates. Kay was witness to what she calls the deterioration of that culture and says the book she wrote exposes what really happens behind closed doors. 

"They've gone from working with the people to it's just their way or the highway," Kay said.

Thousands of employees are protesting and threatening to strike during the holidays, including talk of unionizing. Kay predicted this day would come. 

The moment whispers of unions started to circulate, she says Walmart brought in the big guns.
 
"They isolate the trouble causers and they won't fire them the day after if happens," Kay said.

Kay says instead, Walmart switches shifts and cuts hours.
 
Kay wrote in her book that she still has the union manual given to Walmart managers. They operate under the what's called the tips system.
 
"They don't threaten, interrogate, promise or spy. But they'll come into your store and promise them the world and the store manager will be gone within three to six months if they try to unionize," Kay said.

Kay says she doesn't expect local workers will walkout for the Thanksgiving and Black Friday shifts, but expects to see changes in the near future. 

We'll bring you continuing coverage Thursday at 4 on the possible walkout at Walmart and all Black Friday events. 

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