Walmart Says Ugh, Fine, We Will Give People A Tiny Raise, Whatever
Walmart, the kindest, best place to work in America, has a long history of being A Total Dick about just about everything. The company famous for that stupid bouncing yellow dot, labor violations, and also for its employees' annual food donation drives, for each other, because they cannot afford to put food on their families on Walmart paychecks, has announced that UGH FINE we will give everybody a little bit more money, if that will make them shut up:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc, long criticized for its low wages and employee benefits, said it would spend more than $1 billion to increase pay for half a million U.S. employees this year.
The increase announced by the largest private sector employer in the United States will cover about 40 percent of its U.S. workforce, but falls far short of what some labor groups have been agitating for.
Wal-Mart said on Thursday its hourly full-time and part-time workers will earn at least $9.00 an hour, or $1.75 above the current federal minimum wage, starting in April. Current employees will earn at least $10.00 an hour by Feb. 1, 2016.
Labor groups, led by Our Walmart, have been calling for Wal-Mart to pay its workers at least $15 an hour.
Yep, and labor groups are not going to shut up. Walmart has the money lying around, probably stuffed in one of Alice Walton's shoes, and there is the little matter of the existence of Costco, which totally disproves any whines Walmart may have about not being able to afford it. Walmart, again, is a huge dick. Even Republicans are like "that's really cool, Costco really takes care of its people, I want to shop there!"
Doug McMillon, the nice Walmart CEO, wrote a note to the internet saying that they are really excited about giving everybody a few extra rolls of pennies, because he has to say that, it is part of his job:
One of the most immediate changes is that we’ll raise our starting pay, and we’ll provide opportunities for further raises based on performance. For our current associates, we’ll start by raising our entry wage to at least $9 an hour in April, and, by February of next year, all current associates will earn at least $10 an hour. I’m also excited about an innovative program we’re launching for future associates that will allow you to join Walmart at $9 an hour or more next year, receive skills-based training for six months, and then be guaranteed at least $10 an hour upon successful completion of that program. 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. There will be no better place in retail to learn, grow, and build a career than Walmart.
Ooh, no better place! Except, like, the aforementioned Costco, who is smugly sitting there paying people over twenty bucks an hour and rolling in the cash, also, too.
But no, they are not excited about this. Walmart is putting on this meager little half-assed show of doing a nice thing not out of the goodness of their bloodless pig hearts, but because they are being shamed into it. As Hamilton Nolan explains at Gawker, Doug is saying so many fibs:
Doug McMillon is lying. It is true that the Walmart corporation and its executives are always trying to build a stronger business, but it is clearly not true that this faceless machine for selling enormous quantities of manufactured good is "always trying to do the right thing." In fact, Walmart is so committed to holding down the wages of its workers—keeping them in poverty—that it consistently fights any attempts of employees to organize, even as the company's owners have grown to become some of the richest people in the world. Dozens and dozens of current and former Walmart employees have explicitly described to us how Walmart is a bad place to work. The Walmart corporation does not do things for its workers in order to help its workers, out of kindness. To the Walmart corporation, workers are tiny gears grinding in a very large global machine.
Walmart is giving raises to its workers for one simple reason: it has to.
Right. Because people are YELLING out there right now. They have been noticing for a while now that, holy jeebus, these oligarchs at the top just get richer and fancier, while the actual employees doing the work are sitting there trying to figure out how to turn a can of vienna sausages and a bunch of pencil shavings into tonight's dinner.
And as Hamilton goes on to explain, this is really just the beginning. Walmart been dragged kicking and screaming into paying people a couple extra Ameros at the moment, and their empty suits are sitting there in Bentonville, Arkansas, just hoping and praying that this one act of sorta kindness will be over by tomorrow morning and they can go back to being A Big Dick about everything. And they will do that. And their people will STILL be having a hard time putting food on their families, because really, $10 per hour still ain't that damn much.
So, enjoy getting punched in the face some more, Walmart, we'll see you in a few years (not literally, Wonkette does not shop at your shithole), next time the pressure's just gotten too great, when you announce that you will not only be paying people $10 an hour, but ALSO giving everybody a coupon for a free small french fries from the in-store McDonald's, at which point income inequality will be solved, hurray!