Walmart Inc. announced Thursday (Sept. 17) significant changes to employment in its U.S. stores that will mean pay raises for some of its workers.
In a blog post from Walmart U.S. chief operating officer Dacona Smith, the world’s largest retailer outlined a new team-based staffing model for its supercenters. The new structure will result in pay increases for approximately 165,000 hourly employees across all U.S. stores, the company said.
Cynthia Murray, a longtime Walmart employee in Maryland and a member of the worker organization United for Respect, issued the following statement in response to the staff changes.
“Walmart associates across the country are only now learning the details of our employer’s new staffing model, but we are already concerned and anxious about what is to come. We are risking our lives to serve Walmart customers during the pandemic and helped generate record profits, and it is unacceptable to me that executives would push new staffing models with zero input from the front line employees.
“Raises for some staff, but not for all, will not cut it. All long-term workers like me deserve to get raises, and every single one of Walmart’s 1.5 million U.S. employees should be making at least $15 an hour. Promises that jobs and pay will be maintained until October 2021 are no relief when we’re already struggling to make ends meet and there’s no certainty that the economy will be in full recovery in a year. And it’s time to move beyond words about racial justice — Walmart must disclose if people of color and women are disproportionately concentrated in typically lower-paying part-time positions or are paid less than others at Walmart. If this is true, Walmart’s CEO has a responsibility to fix it.
“Associates have said loudly and clearly what we need to survive and thrive: living wages, fair treatment of part-time associates, and for the Board to include the independent, hourly workers in decision making as we continue to make our stores safe for associates and the public during the pandemic. This announcement completely ignores our demands on coronavirus protections, our number one concern when we clock-in for shifts.
“For months, I’ve lived in fear that I could get sick with COVID-19 while at work, while the Waltons’ fortunes have ballooned by billions. Now, I might lose my job and be left without any severance or health care during the pandemic.”