Retail workers rally for $25,000 a year

A group of Wal-Mart employees plans to ask the company for that much in annual pay for full-time work.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 2, 2014 2:30PM
Credit: © Jim Young/Reuters
Caption: A Walmart employee stocks shelvesBy Susan Berfield, Businessweek

In the coming days, you will be hearing a lot about working women. Not the women leaning in, not the women opting out, but the working women living in or near poverty.


The retail industry alone employs about 1.3 million women who live close to the poverty threshold, according to a new report from the public-policy group Demos. 


Amy Traub, the author of "Retail"s Choice: How Raising Wages and Improving Schedules for Women in the Retail Industry Would Benefit America,” argues for an increase to $25,000 a year, or $12.25 an hour. The average hourly wage for saleswomen is now $10.58.


The report arrives as Walmart Moms head to the headquarters of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) for the retailer's annual shareholder meeting on June 6. The union-supported group is asking for $25,000 a year for full-time work. 


Traub says one of the reasons she chose to look at the effects of an increase to $25,000 is because that was the number the Walmart Moms had chosen. "Wal-Mart is always the elephant in the room when talking about retail," she says. "But we're looking at all large retailers."


Traub notes that as of 2012 almost 93 percent of low-wage female retail workers are at least 20 years old and more than a third have children at home. Almost 40 percent contribute at least half of the family's income, and 19 percent are the sole source of income for their household.


She cites all sorts of convincing studies to show that companies could afford to pay workers more because doing so would improve employee productivity and give the workforce more money to spend at those same stores. Lashanda Myrick, a Wal-Mart worker in Denver, said the same thing at a press conference to announce the upcoming protests: 'If Wal-Mart paid us at least $25,000 a year for full-time work, our stores and our economy would improve."


Kory Lundberg, a spokesman for Wal-Mart, says that Myrick is "a great example of the opportunity Wal-Mart provides associates." He notes that in less than 10 months she moved from being a temporary worker to a full-time employee and now earns more than $10 an hour. All true. It's also true that she's a single mom with a kid at home and she got full-time hours by taking the night shift.


Lundberg takes issue with the Demos report, citing Wal-Mart employees' access to a retirement plan, health benefits, bonuses, and educational opportunities.


"Wal-Mart," he says, "provides associates with more opportunities for career growth and greater economic security for their families than other companies in America."


More from Businessweek


Tags: WMT
142Comments
Jun 2, 2014 3:45PM
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You don't have to go to college;


If your not happy with your salary leave: 


There is a shortage of skilled labor in United Sates.

Pipe fitters, plumbers, techs in almost every field are needed all over the country

and many if these positions are being filled by those from other countries willing

to relocate to America..


So, go out and get an education.. 

Jun 2, 2014 3:46PM
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Here's what all this is really about:


Current hourly rate: $10.58 x 40 hours = $423.20 per week. (No deduction for Union Dues).

Proposed hourly rate: $12.25 x 40 hours = $490.00 per week. (-$66.80 for Union Dues.)


The winner: The Union(s)!



Jun 2, 2014 3:59PM
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Will they work harder if they get paid more money?  NO!  If they had any ambition whatsoever, they wouldn't be working at WalMart!
Jun 2, 2014 4:27PM
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If they want to be paid more, maybe they should try to work their way up to a higher position, get a different job, or go back to school. When I got paid minimum wage years ago, I knew that I needed to finish school or get a better job to get higher pay. I took classes, and in the meantime, I would literally spend hours online sending out my resume and searching for higher paying jobs. My Mom did the same for both her bachelor's, and her Master's degree while married with 3 children, and working full time. You want more money? Work for it! Instead of just expecting it! It's hard but it is possible!
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And, soon, you will be seeing more and more self check out lanes at WalMart with soon-to-come RFID chips in the packaging that will completely due away with all low skilled checkers. I mean, how smart to you have to be to run a can across a scanner, then you complain about not making 20 dollars an hour?
Jun 2, 2014 4:30PM
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You knew what the pay scale was when you got the job.  The time to complain was before that by getting better skills and a better paying job.  No sympathy here.
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If you want a "Living Wage", get a "Living Education" and learn a "Living Skill", then apply for a job that pays a "Living Wage" and quit asking for everyone else to pay for your lack of drive!
Jun 2, 2014 2:56PM
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3 dollars more than minimum wage is still not enough.

 

first libs cry that minimum wage needs to be raised because you can't live on it.

 

Now libs are crying they can't live on 50% more than minimum wage.  You can't please a liberal.  EVER!!

Jun 2, 2014 3:58PM
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When did being a Wal-Mart associate become a career goal?  These jobs should be held by people for a relatively short time while they finish school or move up into management.  They should be held by people who are actively looking for a better job or those trying to get some experience to put on a resume.  Associate jobs at Wal-Mart were never meant to support a family.  And they were never meant to be career position.  If your goal is to spend most of your working life trolling the aisles as an associate at Wal-Mart, you should shut up and take whatever money they will give your sorry butt.
Jun 2, 2014 4:31PM
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Many now think they are due a so called living wage even if they do not have a skill set that is needed in the marketplace.  Get over this thing that everyone needs a college degree.  If you work in a fast food restaurant, learn many skills so you can work your way up to a real restaurant and you can make good money.  You might learn the things to become a good manager or chef.


LEARN A TRADE - plumbing, electrician, brick layer, finish carpenter, tool and die maker, etc.  Much demand for these skill sets and companies are unable to find people with these skill sets.  You can make good money; especially if you are the best of the best. 


We have and continue to tell people they are losers if they do not have a degree.  Many get degrees in Political Science, have huge college loan debt and have nothing to offer an employer with this degree.  We need to get a handle early on and find what skills people are good at and try and lead them to an area where they can maximize their abilities.

Jun 2, 2014 4:06PM
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The famous who can afford tuiton excuse!! How many people do you think pay cash for tuiton? Education is an investment on your future! Take out loans, stop making excuses for not having the time, MAKE TIME!! Stop complaining about your situation and do something about it. Individuals that are in higher positions made the time and investment, and so can YOU!!
Jun 2, 2014 3:49PM
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More self checkouts anyone?????

Hate to say it but that's what your asking for..........................

Or who knows Maybe new "self stocking robots"???? that stock shelfs themselves
Jun 2, 2014 3:32PM
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More of this garbage. If all you do is stock shelves and push buttons, you don't deserve more than $10.00 an hour. 
Jun 2, 2014 4:28PM
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$25,000 a year is about $12,50 an hour. Wal-Mart will have to pay the $25K plus social security, workman's comp. plus.....it's going to cost more than $25K.
Jun 2, 2014 3:48PM
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If it's raised, I will have to get one of those jobs as part-time.   Will be a wash in buying power.   Many fail to realize that at the higher wages, the job description, qualifications, and expectations change.

Jun 2, 2014 3:32PM
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I don't understand how a person can need a raise and then say they will spend their increased earnings at Walmart or in the economy.  If they can't make ends meet, then wouldn't they just be buying things that they already use, presumably that a relative is already buying for them now?  I don't see how this grows the economy. 
Jun 2, 2014 3:37PM
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If ya can't live on what ya make spend less or get another job. If they raise minimum wage it will not help you because the cost of everything will go up and you will be in a worst position.  LOOK at the history of minimum wages. With every increase in minimum wages there has been a larger increase in prices of everyday items and everything else too. The only organization that benefits from minimum wage increases is the government because you are put into a higher tax bracket and they can collect more money from you.  More sales tax, more income tax more everything tax. AND what you put into Social Security before and now will be also worth less when you retire because prices will be higher. People STOP being idiots. DON'T let them increase minimum wages because you can only be hurt by it.
Jun 2, 2014 4:44PM
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I'm just wondering if they expect to have to work for it?
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Hey, dummies at WalMart griping about your wages! Want a good wage? Then, apply for a job as a writer for MSN or apply to be a show host on MSNBC. It is apparent from the lack of curiosity and common sense from all of the writers and hosts there, you are perfectly skilled for that line of high paying work!
Jun 3, 2014 2:19AM
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liberals want people to be able to afford to live in this society even at low wages. I get it. EVERYONE wants that. However, liberals only solution is make it illegal to earn a low wage. what a laughable idea. When a liberal wants to start slashing payroll taxes, burdensome regulations that drive up the costs of consumer staples and minimize take home pay i will be all ears.
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