Wally World Wins Minimum Wage War

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Wally World Wins Minimum Wage War

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Walmart is the largest private employer in the United States.

This company, which also owns Sam’s Club, is also the largest private employer in the world.

With five stores open within an eight-mile radius of the school many students and faculty depend on Walmart for their groceries and other goods. Walmart also employs many ULM students.

Recently, those students received an announcement that would make most proud to say they work at Walmart.

On Jan. 11, Walmart flexed its financial muscles in a big way. The company announced they’d be raising their minimum wage in their Walmart stores to $11 per hour.

On Jan. 28, 2015, The Neighborhood Walmart Center opened on DeSiard Street across from the ULM campus.

The Neighborhood Walmart was welcomed with open arms by ULM students. With the opening of a Walmart within walking distance to campus many ULM students jumped on board the train and became employees.

Nobody can put people to work in the private sector like Walmart.

A reported $486 billion revenue in 2016 means Walmart made more money than most countries.

That amount is also more than Amazon and Target made, combined.

With Walmart being the largest private employer in America, a raise to the minimum wage sets the standard for its competitors, but the retail giant wasn’t the first to strike.

Target, a competitor of Walmart announced their raise to the minimum wage back in December.

Not only did Target announce a raised minimum wage but they also said their minimum wage would go up to $15 an hour by 2020.

Target’s planned $15 per hour in 2020 is seen as a move to satisfy the many Americans across the nation who have fiercely lobbied for the past couple of years for a $15 federal minimum wage.

The reason Walmart made national headlines for their raise was because Walmart is the retail king. They make more money and employ more people than any of their competition.

“Although Walmart did a great thing by raising their minimum wage (Target also) it is definitely not a livable wage for those who will need health insurance, 401k, and other benefits in order to maintain,” Kimberly Mayberry, a senior, social work major said.

She was very critical of Walmart’s increase in their minimum wage but did clarify $11 an hour is just a start.

“Many people don’t realize that $11 is just a starting wage at Walmart, many employees make a lot more than that if they pursue higher positions within the company, therefore it’s a wonderful starting wage to build toward a livable wage.”

ULM students when polled thought favorably of Walmart based on their willingness to raise the minimum wage especially before being made to by the government.
Walmart’s move to raise their minimum wage raised some concerns among ULM students.

First, with increased pressure from the public for a $15 minimum wage will the $11 Walmart want to pay be seen as enough?
Is it a livable wage for their employees?

Second, after paying its 1.5 million U.S. based employees a higher wage will prices of goods sold at Walmart increase? Lastly, where are these funds being made available for use?

Myresha Ellis, a senior, communications major isn’t sure if $11 per hour is a livable wage for employees but believes she knows how Walmart is going to manage to pay its employees a higher wage, “They’re just going to cut hours.

I know people who work at Walmart.

But depending on their living expenses determines if it’s enough or not enough.”

Other students chimed in on the debate with many agreeing Walmart is doing good by raising its minimum wage, but $11 is not enough but rather a good start.

Melissa Thorne, a second-year forensic psychology graduate student, thinks benefits are what’s important, “They do offer benefits for full time employees.”

However, when I worked for them from 2004-2006, hardly anyone was scheduled full time. They scheduled us just under the required hours for qualification.”

After announcing the increase to their starting wage Walmart also announced the closure of 63 Sam’s Clubs.

When questioned about funds for employee salaries the Walmart spokesperson credited President Trump’s new tax plan as a big help to making the increases possible.