Walmart Letter to the Editor on Lowest-Paying Company

Below is a letter sent to us from Walmart regarding the story This Is the Lowest-Paying Company in America.

We think some of their comments have merit, and we have acknowledged this. In other cases, we believe our comments are correct and have used other media to support our thesis. The content of the letter is in italics:

I work in Walmart corporate communications and am reaching out about your story that was published today. There are several inaccuracies and misleading statements that need to be addressed, as well as some important missing context. 

  • For starters, the cited “study” by Business Insider does not indicate Walmart is the lowest-paying company in the country. 
    • The premise of your entire story is inaccurate.
    • Our average hourly wage in Walmart U.S., including store, clubs and distribution centers is $15.25.
    • Your second sentence “some of its workers make only $11 an hour, despite promises that its lowest-paid workers would get a raise” 
      • This sentence is inaccurate and insinuates something that is not true.
      • As you note, we did announce raises for 425,000 of our 1.2 million store associates in February, raising their starting wage to between $13-$19/hour. 
      • That announcement was clear that those raises were investments in our digital and stocking associates which are our two largest workgroups. It was also clear that the February raises were the latest in a series of recent wage investments.
      • Your claim that “it is not clear that will happen to all of what it calls its 425,000 associates” who had their pay increased to between $13 and $19 an hour. 
        • All 425,000 associates got their raises, on time, as planned.
        • The increases went into effect March 13, as Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner said in that same February announcement. 
        • What your story fails to mention is the opportunity we provide nationwide.
          • We provide access to employment others won’t. 
          • Our team-based model of operating in stores provides on-the-job training from day one where associates can quickly gain the skills and experience to advance to higher-paying jobs with greater responsibility.
          • The numbers back up this approach:
              • In our fiscal year 2021, we promoted more than 300,000 U.S. associates to jobs with greater responsibility and higher pay.
              • 75% of our U.S. salaried store, club and supply chain management started their career as hourly associates.
              • We recently announced that we are now paying for 100% of college tuition and books through our Live Better U program. This allows associates to get college degrees, healthcare career diplomas, skilled trade certifications, high school diplomas, English language learning and more.

              We respectfully ask you correct your story or delete it and, in the future, reach out to us for the facts before you publish:

              I’m happy to discuss further.

              Jimmy Carter

              Corporate Affairs & Global Communications


              Mr Carter’s point about the 425,000 associates has some merit. However, his overall argument is incomplete.

              This is the CNN Business comment on the matter, also in italics:

              McMillon said Thursday that a $15 minimum wage was “an important target, but also think that should be paced in a way that’s good for the US economy.”

              The latest pay raises are targeted at workers that “tend to have been with us for a longer period of time than someone that might be earning the entry wage,” McMillon said. “We’re trying to move that average up” and create incentives for employees to remain with Walmart.

              He added that Walmart “will be sensitive to geographies. There are parts of the country where the starting wage should be lower than others.”

              Also, a section of a story from The New York Times:

              Walmart’s minimum wage remains at $11 an hour for many workers, though some positions start at higher amounts.

               Mr. McMillon said the $15-an-hour minimum for all workers was an “important target but it should be paced in a way that is good for the U.S. economy.” Mr. McMillon did not elaborate on when or if Walmart would move to a $15 minimum, but said the company would “continue to make investments at the right time” in higher wages.

              And Yahoo! News:

              Walmart announced it would raise pay for some workers, while maintaining an $11 starting wage.
              CEO Doug McMillon said the raises would help the company create a “ladder of opportunity.”
              He added that a $15 minimum wage should be paced in a way that benefits the US economy.

              So, we believe that Walmart’s CEO made a statement that did not tell the entire story.

              As for the question of whether Walmart is the lowest paying company in America, we have not been able to find a large American company with a minimum wage below $11. We stand by that statement.

              Douglas A. McIntyre


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