Feb 23 2015

Walmart’s Wage Increase May Not Be Enough to Salvage Its Image

Feature Stories | Published 23 Feb 2015, 10:30 am | Comments Off on Walmart’s Wage Increase May Not Be Enough to Salvage Its Image -

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GUEST: Josh Eidelson, a reporter for Bloomberg Business Week, and former Salon writer who has closely followed the activism by Walmart workers…

Walmart made a surprise announcement on Thursday that it would be raising wages of its half a million US workforce to $9 by this April, and then $10 by next February. In a press release, the world’s largest private employer said, “Walmart has represented a ladder of opportunity since it started and the company wants to ensure that this remains a vital part of the Walmart experience.”

The company’s reputation has suffered serious blows for years now, for paying poverty level wages to its workers, ensuring that a very large fraction of them have to rely on government assistance to survive. Walmart has also faced scores of lawsuits for gender discrimination among other things.

But in the past 2 years, union organizers have been working with some Walmart employees to agitate for better conditions and wages. The group Our Walmart, last November, led the first coordinated sit-ins at Walmart stores in the history of the company. And employees have also launched a number of one-day strikes and walkouts during busy shopping days such as Black Friday.

So, does the new move to raise the base pay of Walmart workers mean the company has salvaged its ugly reputation?

To read Josh Eidelson’s work, visit www.bloomberg.com.

GUEST: …Josh Eidelson’s latest article is entitled, “Wal-Mart May Be Cheap, but It Would Rather Give Up Money Than Power.”

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