I suspect there are many more instances of a few dozen job cuts here and there that never make it to the newspapers or internet. It’s just the company upgrading equipment to become more efficient, so it’s not really news. But the effect of technological unemployment is cumulative and is at least partly responsible for the jobless recovery.
There probably aren’t many optical production specialists flooding across the Rio Grande to steal American jobs. Still, the jobs universe is shrinking enormously because of automation, so it is foolish for the United States to continue with immigration of any legality as a normal government policy. We should end immigration because it has become obsolete — like homesteading, which was stopped after the west was settled.
Wal-Mart’s Dallas optical lab loses 91 jobs to automation, DallasNews.com, November 21, 2016
Wal-Mart has cut 91 jobs at its optical lab in Dallas after installing new manufacturing equipment.
The lab, which is one of three where Wal-Mart makes prescription eyeglasses, will now employ 430 people.
While trade policies were a big issue in the presidential election, manufacturing jobs are still being lost in the U.S. to automation. Last year, Wal-Mart said it would spend $10 million to upgrade manufacturing equipment at its Fayetteville, Ark.; Crawfordsville, Ind.; and Dallas optical labs.
The other facilities aren’t affected by the decision, said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Anne Hatfield.
Prescription eyeglasses are the only product that Wal-Mart manufactures, start-to-finish, in-house. The three labs serve 3,500 Wal-Mart stores with optical centers. The Dallas lab opened in 1995, and Wal-Mart started making eyeglasses in 1991.
According to an article published last year in Wal-Mart’s employee publication, production at the Fayetteville lab runs 24 hours a day, with more than 620 people working in rotating shifts. The record for a single day of eyewear production at the lab was 11,000 pairs.
The laid-off Dallas optical staffers are being encouraged to apply at other local Wal-Mart operations in the Dallas area, said Hatfield. In addition to stores, Wal-Mart operates distribution centers in North Texas and a prescription home delivery division based in Carrollton that mails prescriptions across the U.S.
The manufacturing upgrades are part of Wal-Mart’s “commitment to provide customers with the highest quality custom eyewear at low prices,” Hatfield said. “We are realigning the lab to create better efficiency in our production process.”
Laid-off employees stopped working at the facility on Directors Row on Nov. 9 and will be paid until Feb. 17 as required under the WARN Act, according to a letter sent to the Texas Workforce Commission.