Walmart workers get vocal
Today, despite a small uptick in U.S. sales, Walmart’s overall revenue and profits are down, following its worst stock decline in more than 15 years last month. OUR Walmart released an open letter to Wall Street analysts and the following statement from Janet Sparks, Walmart associate from Baker, Louisiana.
“Walmart’s business model is failing our investors, customers and associates alike. Paying employees poorly and giving them part-time hours is clearly not paying off. Walmart needs to realize that the best investment they could make is in the workers who keep the shelves stocked and customers happy. My fellow associates and I are fasting for $15 an hour and full-time now through Thanksgiving and the Black Friday holiday because our wages and hours are too low to put food on the table or gifts under the tree.
“Profits go hand in hand with compensating employees fairly, giving them full-time work and respecting them on the job. While the pay increase we won earlier this year is a step in the right direction, shareholders should demand nothing less than a wage we can actually live on. The longer Walmart takes to realize that paying us more will boost sales and customer satisfaction, the longer it will take them to rebound from the historic losses experienced last month and the continuing decline today. ”
The public policy organization Demos released a piece out today on how a wage increase to $15 would boost sales at Walmart, stating:
“This year, the company raised pay to a minimum of $9 an hour for all employees who have completed a 6-month training period. The minimum rate will go up to $10 an hour in February 2016. And customer satisfaction is already on the rise, with customers citing improvements in customer service and overall shopping experience. This should come as no surprise: research shows that better staffing practices lead to higher sales, since customers can count on stocked shelves and knowledgeable employees. Demos has long argued that investing in front-line services would increase consumer spending at Walmart’s own stores and ultimately improve company performance.”
And as Demos argues, the corporation can afford it:
“If Walmart redirected the $10 billion per year it has authorized for buybacks toward investment in human capital, it could provide its 825,000 lowest-paid U.S. employees a raise of as much as $7.67 per hour, without raising prices for consumers by a penny. On top of the $10 an hour Walmart has already committed to, this would more than pay for the $15 an hour Walmart workers are calling for.”
Ten years ago today, Walmart publicly committed to sustainability but their self-reported greenhouse gas emissions have grown by 14 percent and they remain one of the nation’s largest users of coal-fired electricity.