UFR Leaders: Under fire from workers, Doug McMillon attempts to save face with patch-fix on poverty wages at Walmart as our $15 fight advances in Congress. 

Nationwide — Today, Walmart announced it will raise wages for 425,000 U.S. workers, bringing its “average” hourly wage to over $15/hr. There is fine print: its minimum wage will remain $11/hr, and only a quarter of its 1.5 million person workforce will benefit from this announcement. The Walton family has reaped $5 million an hour since the pandemic began. A recent GAO report revealed Walmart remains atop the list of employers whose workers rely on public assistance to get by.

Mendy Hughes, a Walmart cashier and a leader with United for Respect, released the following statement:

“I’ve been working at Walmart for 11 years and only make $11.85, and most of us cashiers along with hundreds of thousands of others are once again left out of the raises Walmart is giving. Being a cashier in the COVID-19 pandemic is among the most dangerous jobs there is. Why is it so hard for the richest family in America to just do what they should have done years ago and raise base pay for all Walmart associates to $15/hour? As Chair of the Business Roundtable, Doug McMillon must set an example for the rest of the country. Virtually every other major retailer has raised pay to $15/hour, and I’m tired of these too little too late gestures that mean nothing for so many of us who have been risking our lives every day while the Waltons sit in their mansions getting richer.” 

UFR’s analysis is that approximately 760,000 hourly associates are NOT receiving a wage increase and likely will continue to make less than $15 an hour. For comparison, if this left-behind workforce alone was an employer, it would be among the largest in the country. Starting wages for the majority of hourly associates remains $11 an hour, well below the minimum $15 an hour paid by competing retailers (e.g. Target, Amazon, BestBuy, Costco), leaving Walmart lagging behind the industry standard.

Drew Board, a Walmart Online Grocery Pickup (OGP) worker and leader with United for Respect, released the following statement:

“As an online grocery pickup worker, I may be one of the few fortunate enough to benefit from these raises, after struggling for the past several years to take care of myself on $13.15/hr. While an additional $1/hour is a boost for me, it’s laughable for Walmart to tout these raises as generous when they are leaving out the overwhelming majority of my coworkers, who will continue to scrape by on poverty wages. And where some is given, some is taken away — the raise announced today will be offset by our loss of quarterly bonuses. This is a shell game and a damn shame. The Waltons make $5 million an hour – they can afford to pay their entire workforce a $15 minimum and it’s shameful they aren’t doing it.”

In addition to asking for a $15/hr minimum wage for ALL Walmart employees, Walmart associates are calling on the company to provide hazard pay, pandemic paid leave, virus safety on the job including a $500 incentive for vaccines, protections against retaliation, and a voice on the job to solve health and safety problems, as part of the Five to Survive platform.