UNDATED (AP) -- As Walmart moves to phase out its familiar blue-vested ``greeters'' at some 1,000 stores nationwide, disabled workers who fill many of those jobs say they're being ill-treated by a chain that styles itself as community-minded and inclusive.

Walmart told greeters around the country last week that their positions would be eliminated on April 26 in favor of an expanded, more physically demanding ``customer host'' role. To qualify, they will need to be able to lift 25-pound packages, climb ladders and stand for long periods.

That came as a heavy blow to greeters with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other physical disabilities. For them, a job at Walmart has provided needed income, served as a source of pride and offered a connection to the community. Now Walmart, America's largest private employer is facing a backlash as customers rally around some of the chain's most visible and beloved employees.