How Walmart could pay workers a better wage | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How Walmart could pay workers a better wage

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Walmart has been taking a bit of a p.r. hit over the wages it pays employees after an Ohio branch of the retail giant held a food drive for its own workers, who were unable to afford groceries for Thanksgiving. A new report from a liberal think tank suggests how Walmart could raise wages without raising their prices. 

Mother Jones reports

According to the report, "A Higher Wage Is Possible," Walmart spends $7.6 billion a year buying back stock. Those purchases drive up the company's share price, further enriching the Walton family, which controls more than half of Walmart stock (and for that matter, more wealth than 42 percent of Americans combined.) If Walmart instead spent that money on wages, it could give each of its 1.3 million US employees a $5.83 per hour raise—enough to ensure that all of them are paid a wage equivalent to $25,000 a year for full-time work.

Walmart and its defenders like to argue that raising wages would require it to raise prices, which would in turn hurt its low-income shoppers. But Demos disagrees: "Curtailing share buybacks would not harm the company's retail competitiveness or raise prices for consumers," the report says. "In fact...higher pay could be expected to improve employee productivity and morale while reducing Walmart's expenses related to employee turnover."

This would allow Walmart to pay employees $14.89 an hour, the report said. No comment from Walmart but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that their shareholders (dominated by the Waltons, as Mother Jones notes) won't be endorsing this plan. 

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