The world's largest retailer is surprising about 25,000 U.S. employees with on-the-spot promotions.

Wal-Mart (Scott Olson, Getty Images)

Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO Bill Simon is kicking off the event at its Secaucus, New Jersey store today to try to send a message that the nation's largest private employer offers economic security and opportunity.

Some of the mostly hourly workers will be promoted to store management positions and will receive higher pay and increased responsibility.

The move is an addition to Wal-Mart's announcement in September that it would move 35,000 workers from temporary to part-time status and another 35,000 from part time to full time by the end of the year.

The latest campaign comes as Wal-Mart remains a target of critics, particularly union-backed groups that have argued the discounter puts profit ahead of its workers and pays meager wages.


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