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Walmart Raising the Wage for 500,000 Employees

February 19, 2015 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

The big box retailer's announcement is sure to impact the national debate around increasing the federal minimum wage.

Walmart has a long and storied (and well-earned) reputation for shortchanging its employees. That may change slightly following the corporate behemoth’s announcement this morning that it will be raising the pay of about half a million of its employees.

The new rate increase will raise hourly pay for employees to $9 as of April. Walmart says it also plans a second increase that will ensure all associates will be making $10 by next February. 

Not only does this potentially alter Walmart’s image as one of the most egregious examples of corporate greed – it may have a big impact on the ongoing national conversation around raising the minimum wage.

The announcement came as part of Walmart’s quarterly earnings announcement. In the release, CEO Doug McMillon stated:

“Current and future associates will benefit from this initiative, which ensures that Walmart hourly associates earn at least $1.75 above today's federal minimum wage, or $9.00 per hour, in April. The following year, by Feb. 1, 2016, current associates will earn at least $10.00 per hour.”

There are other pay raises afoot as well. In an letter to associates, McMillon wrote:

“We’re also strengthening our department manager roles and will raise the starting wage for some of these positions to at least $13 an hour this summer and at least $15 an hour early next year.”

McMillon also noted that the company is modifying its “hiring, training, compensation and scheduling programs.” The change, according to the CEO, will allow employees “more control over their schedules.”

The estimated cost of the pay raises and other changes announced today hovers somewhere around $1 billion dollars for the fiscal year.



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