File this under “the tide is turning.”
Coming out of an investor conference on October 15, Walmart CEO Doug McMillan told reporters that the company has plans to phase out the minimum wage entirely at all its stores. “It is our intention over time that we will be in a situation where we don’t pay minimum wage at all,” McMillan said.
Slate got more information from spokesman Kory Lundberg:
He told me the company will likely adjust pay in those jobs “so that nobody is coming at the minimum.” He also clarified that the company plans to pay above the state or city wage floor wherever it’s higher than the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.
As multiple outlets have pointed out, this is a largely symbolic move: it’s great that Walmart apparently plans to pay above the state minimum wage (as opposed to federal) but even in a best-case scenario, the final figures will likely still be well below the $15 an hour and full-time that workers are demanding. We have also yet to see the details of McMillan’s plan, and it’s possible that stores will use less-than-ideal workarounds – like shifting full-time workers to part-time – to comply with the wage raise.
Despite all the remaining questions, we still view this as a sign of a slow, steady, seismic culture shift happening at Walmart. Think about it: five years ago, paying minimum wage and exploiting workers wasn’t a liability for giant corporations. Today, apparently, it is.
That is what winning looks like.
If you want to get involved and stay connected with the fight to raise the wage at Walmart, check out Organization United for Respect at Walmart’s website here.
And, if you haven’t already signed our solidarity pledge for Walmart workers, you can show them your support by signing below!
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