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Don't be soothed by Walmart pay hike

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

It may have seemed a herculean task, but retail workers have just scored an unprecedented win against a retail giant.  Walmart, the nation's largest private employer, announced last week that it will raise the wages of approximately 500,000 of its employees by lifting its base wage to $10 by 2016 for current workers (and to the same rate for new hires after six months training).  It's a step in the right direction, but not enough.  To be sure, Walmart's announcement is an impressive development in the fight for better wages, not only because the retail powerhouse has earned a reputation for paying some of the lowest wages in the industry, but most importantly, because it was forced to make the change by its own workers.

Over the past several years, Walmart employees -- united under the banner of OUR Walmart -- have engaged in protests and advocacy to press the retailer to improve compensation and working conditions in its more than 5,100 stores nationwide. These workers have held rallies, demanded to speak at shareholders meetings, and reached out to elected leaders and the general public. Their efforts are now starting to pay off, and no doubt, Walmart workers' success will serve as an inspiration to millions of other low-wage workers nationwide, making similar demands in the retail, restaurant and health care industries.  (click on link to read full story) 

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