Walmart To Raise Hourly Wages For 500,000 Workers

walmart--621x414Wal-Mart Stores will raise the salaries of 500,000 full-time and part-time associates at Walmart U.S. stores and Sam’s Clubs this year, according to a company statement. In April, the retailer will raise its entry wage to $9.00 per hour, $1.75 above the current U.S. federal minimum wage of $7.25. Current employees will have their wages raised to $10.00 per hour on Feb. 1, 2016. In total, the raises will impact 40% of the company’s 1.3 million U.S. employees.

Starting in 2016, all entry level employees that successfully complete a six-month skills-based training program, will receive a guaranteed raise to $10.00 an hour.

In the statement, Wal-Mart Stores President and CEO Doug McMillon stated the company would be investing more than $1 billion in 2015 toward numerous initiatives, including changes to the company hiring, training, compensation and scheduling programs, as well as store management structure.


“By realigning our store operational structure, associates can enjoy a closer relationship with their supervisors,” McMillon said. “In addition, associates will have more control over their schedules.”

Certain department manager roles will have their wages raised to $13.00 per hour in summer 2015, with the potential to increase to at least $15.00 an hour in early 2016 as these employees increase their responsibilities.

The pay raise comes as Wal-Mart Stores reports a 1.6% increase in Q4 U.S. comparable store sales and a 1.4% increase in quarterly revenue.

The company’s payment and employment conditions have been under scrutiny from labor groups such as the United Food and Commercial Workers union and OUR Walmart. For the past three years, members of these groups have gathered outside numerous Walmart locations on Black Friday to protest employee wages, and have called for the company to increase starting wages to $15.00 an hour.

These announced pay raises also come at a time when the federal minimum wage is being heavily contested, as President Barack Obama has proposed Congress to raise the floor from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. An Associated Press-GfK poll indicated that approximately six in 10 Americans favor raising the federal minimum wage.

“Today’s announcement by Walmart regarding associate wages is just another example of the power of the marketplace,” said Matthew Shay, President and CEO of the National Retail Federation. “Like many other retailers, Walmart made its decision based upon what is best for their employees, their customers, their shareholders and the communities in which they operate.

Shay criticized government intervention in the retail industry, labelling politically driven mandates as “unnecessary” measures that “create hurdles to job creation, curtail capital investment and pose as barriers to a sustained economic recovery.”

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