News & Politics

February 2015: Walmart Raises Wages Above Minimum; January 2016: Walmart Closes 154 Stores

Let us begin with a couple of headlines.

Shot:

Walmart ups pay well above minimum wage

Chaser: Walmart to close 154 stores in the US; 10,000 workers affected

Walmart is closing 269 stores, more than half of them in the U.S. and another big chunk in its challenging Brazilian market.

The stores being shuttered account for a fraction of the company’s 11,000 stores worldwide and less than 1 percent of its global revenue.

More than 95 percent of the stores set to be closed in the U.S. are within 10 miles of another Walmart. The Bentonville, Arkansas, company said it is working to ensure that workers are placed in nearby locations.

So how does that play out when (if, actually) the workers are placed in nearby locations? Does everyone get the same hours despite there being more employees in a given location? Are the superstores super-staffed? That doesn’t seem like a scenario that would fit in with the new policy of being more “nimble.”

This announcement comes just as pay for U.S. workers is about to go up another dollar per hour.

The greater likelihood is that many of the 10,000 workers affected won’t, in fact, be placed elsewhere. It is also naive to think that giving a workforce of 1.4 million an extra couple of bucks an hour won’t have consequences.

Logic-free progressive wage activists will be working overtime to tell you it doesn’t now, though.