Recently, news broke that Walmart will be raising its minimum wage to $9/h, well above the stipulated $7.25 federal minimum wage. I thought the white collars at Wallmart had a change of heart and finally heeded to the protests and rallies of people working on the floor. I was wrong.
Neil Irwin writes for TheUpshot:
Back in its 2007 fiscal year, before the recession, Walmart reported $183,500 in revenue per employee and $5,938 in profit. Not bad, but by 2014 those numbers had risen 18 percent and 22 percent.
Those are huge percentage numbers. They turn out to be really huge when considered as a whole.
despite steady economic growth, average hourly wages for nonmanagerial workers have risen around 2 percent a year, barely more than inflation.
A 2 percent jump in salaries is a complete joke when a company is seeing such great profit rates.
The company’s sales and profits rose nicely in that time while the company kept a lid on its payroll. Gains went to Walmart shareholders, not Walmart workers.
So, the shareholders were okay with pocketing massive amounts of money while the people that were actually making it happen for them had to protest on the streets, unsuccessfully.
the world for employers is very different with a 5.7 percent unemployment rate (the January level) than it was five years ago, at 9.8 percent. Finding qualified workers is harder for employers now than it was then, and their workers are at risk of jumping ship if they don’t receive pay increases or other improvements.
The entire US job market had to change, a process that took almost five years, for Walmart to start respecting its own employees.
It is stories like this that anti-capitalists like to munch on.
I am not against capitalism but such cases sure make me wonder if we should keep more severe checks on corporations.