Tags: Wal-Mart | pay | Simon | job

'Great Job Opportunities' at Wal-Mart?

Friday, 25 Oct 2013 08:11 AM

By Michael Kling

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Wal-Mart continues to take heat for its pay and scheduling practices.

Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon sought to put the store in a better light recently at an industry conference by arguing that more than 475,000 store associates earned more than $25,000 last year.

Wal-Mart's critics were not impressed by the statistics he included in his presentation under the heading "Great job opportunities" at an industry conference. In fact, the numbers could backfire on the retailer, predicts The Huffington Post.

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75% of Seniors Make This $152,000 Social Security Mistake (See Easy Fix)

OUR Wal-Mart, a worker advocacy group, says Simon's statistic means 825,000 store workers, or "associates," earned less than $25,000, based on the store's count of 1.3 million U.S. associates.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson told The Post the company has 1 million store associates, not counting other employees such as truck drivers and corporate staff, and that is the group Simon was referring to. That would mean a little less than half earned at least $25,000 last year.

Whatever number is used, the retailer's foes remain outraged at what they say are subsistence wages. Wal-Mart's low wages are so low they drive people to public assistance programs, according to a report from the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Wal-Mart is the epitome of increasing wealth inequality, growing corporate profits, and falling wages, according to the report. Its business model is based on low wages and few worker benefits, and taxpayers pick up the tab of those subsistence wages.

After analyzing data from Wisconsin's Medicaid program, researchers estimated that a single 300-person Wal-Mart in Wisconsin costs taxpayers at least $904,542 a year and as much as $1,744,590 a year, or $5,815 per employee.

The study recommends increase the minimum wage and strengthening equal pay laws and labor laws to allow labor organizing.

Wal-Mart believes the committee's report "is politically driven, flawed in its methodology, relies on unrealistic scenarios and, above all, is simply incorrect." The percentage of Wal-Mart associates on Medicaid, the company responds, is similar to the percentage for other large retailers and comparable to the national average.

By excluding part-time workers from public wage data, Wal-Mart skews average worker pay it reports upward, according to The Post. The company says a "majority" of workers are full time, but doesn't disclose exact figures.

Glassdoor.com puts Wal-Mart's average pay for associates at $8.85 per hour, or a salary of $17,841, based on employee reviews, The Post reports. That compares with median pay of $10.99 an hour, or $20,990 a year, for retail sales workers in 2010.

Editor’s Note: 75% of Seniors Make This $152,000 Social Security Mistake (See Easy Fix)

Related Stories:

Government Has More Low-Wage Earners Than Wal-Mart, McDonald's Combined

Wal-Mart to Offer Health Benefits to Domestic Partners

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