Newsroom

 
 

No Kid Hungry Teaches Washington, DC Residents How to Put Healthy Meals on the Table for Less

 

More than 260 participants Attend Cooking Matters® Day at Walmart’s Georgia Avenue Location 

Washington, D.C. – More than 260 Washington, D.C. residents learned new skills for buying healthy food on a limited budget today, during a Cooking Matters® Day at Walmart’s Georgia Avenue Supercenter on April 29. The No Kid Hungry campaign, developed by Share Our Strength and nationally sponsored by the Walmart Foundation, runs the Cooking Matters® store tours which are led by trained volunteers. The program teaches shoppers to compare unit prices, read food labels, find whole grains and buy more fruits and vegetables.

no kid hungry

“In D.C., one in five kids can’t count on getting the food they need every day” says David Sloan, director of the Maryland No Kid Hungry campaign. “Our Cooking Matters at the Store program equips parents with skills to shop for healthy food on a tight budget, so there’s enough food on the dinner table at night.”

After the tour, participants were provided a $10 gift card, a portion of which were donated by Walmart, to apply the skills they learned to buy ingredients that would make a healthy meal for a family of four. Tour participants also received a recipe workbook and a reusable grocery bag.

“We were thrilled to host Cooking Matters in our store today and to support our customers in their goal to save money and live better,” said Nina Albert, Walmart Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations. “At Walmart, our goal is to help families eat better for less by providing them access to nutritious and affordable healthy food. Through these tours, we hope to empower our shoppers by equipping them with the tools and knowledge they need to shop smart and save more.”

A survey released by No Kid Hungry found that 85 percent of low-income families want to make healthy meals, but only about half are able to do so on a regular basis. Families cited the cost of healthy groceries as their primary obstacle. To learn more, visit CookingMatters.org.

About the Maryland No Kid Hungry Campaign

Cooking Matters is an initiative of the No Kid Hungry campaign. No child should go hungry in America, but 1 in 5 kids will face hunger this year. Using proven, practical solutions, No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger today by ensuring that kids start the day with a nutritious breakfast and families learn the skills they need to shop and cook on a budget. When we all work together, we can make sure kids get the healthy food they need. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of national anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength. Join us at NoKidHungry.org.

About Philanthropy at Walmart

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts that draw on the strengths of Walmart in the arenas of sustainability, economic opportunity, and community. As part of our commitment to creating a more sustainable food system worldwide, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States. They recently exceeded a $2 billion goal to fight hunger one year ahead of schedule and have donated more than 1.5 billion pounds of food to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit www.foundation.walmart.com.

CONTACT:
Eleanor Arlook                                                Matthew Brown
Maroon PR                                                       No Kid Hungry campaign
443-864-4246                                                  202-768-9090
Eleanor@MaroonPR.com                            MBrown@Strength.org

 

read more
 
 

Walmart Announces Three Year Commitment to Washington, DC-based Running Start Star Fellows Program

Walmart Supports Local Not-for-Profit Dedicated to Helping Young Women Experience Capitol Hill

Washington, DC, April 21, 2015 – Today, Walmart Stores, Inc. announced that the company is committing to donate $500,000 over the next three years to the Running Start/Walmart Star Fellows Program. Running Start is a Washington, DC-based program dedicated to providing young women and girls with the skills and confidence they need to become the political leaders of tomorrow.

The Running Start/Walmart Star Fellows Program brings college-aged women to Washington, DC each year to learn about politics by working in the offices of female Members of Congress on Capitol Hill. In addition to honing their policy and political skills, the Fellows take part in a seminar each week conducted by Running Start which gives them the skills and contacts they need to become political leaders. The Fellows emerge from their semester in DC with a deeper understanding of the need for more women to run for office, and confidence in their own abilities to lead, whether at their schools or on the national stage.

“Walmart’s support of Running Start has been invaluable in helping us attract a diverse and highly talented pool of Fellows for our Star Fellowship,” said Susannah Wellford, President and Founder of Running Start. “This program is one of our most in depth trainings, offering students housing, a stipend and a challenging job working for a female member of Congress.  Our graduates have gone on to win elected office, find policy jobs on the Hill, and work in public service. We are so grateful for Walmart’s support!”

Walmart’s support of the Star Fellows program helps provide housing and stipends so young women of all socioeconomic backgrounds have an opportunity to participate in the potentially life-changing experience of working on Capitol Hill. Since 2009, the Star Fellows program has helped support 70 young women to come to Washington, DC and work on Capitol Hill.

“We are thrilled to continue our support of the Running Start/Walmart Star Fellows Program,” said Jana Barresi, Director, Federal Government Relations Walmart. “Running Start is an honorable organization that energizes young women to seek change through the political process and provides them with the programs needed to support them in achieving their goals.”

With the addition of the newly committed $500,000 over the next three years, Walmart’s donations total $1.5 million since the start of the Star Fellows program.

About Walmart

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere — in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, more than 245 million customers and members visit our 11,000 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries and ecommerce websites in 10 countries. With fiscal year 2014 sales of over $473 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.

About Philanthropy at Walmart

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts that draw on the strengths of Walmart in the arenas of sustainability, economic opportunity, and community. As part of our commitment to creating a more sustainable food system worldwide, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States. They recently exceeded a $2 billion goal to fight hunger one year ahead of schedule and have donated more than 1.5 billion pounds of food to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit www.foundation.walmart.com.

 

Phase II of Transformative Development Project Featuring Walmart and Affordable Housing Gets Underway

A & R Development - Launching Phase II of a transformative $220 million mixed-used, transit-oriented development project in Northeast Washington, A&R Development, the D.C. Housing Authority and Walmart broke ground today for what will become a Walmart Supercenter and a 312-unit apartment building.

Phase I of the project, now complete, is comprised of 380 apartments and townhomes. In Phase II, A&R will deliver a mixed-use town center that includes a LEED-certified apartment building above 20,000 square feet of retail space and a Walmart Supercenter, offering fresh groceries, a pharmacy and an assortment of retail goods.

real estate phase ii

Prior to the redevelopment initiative near East Capitol and 58th streets, area residents had few, if any, options for food shopping and other types of retail. In partnership with the D.C. Housing Authority, A&R is transforming the so-called food and retail desert by developing a new 40-acre community — Capitol Gateway — that includes affordable for-purchase and for-rent housing, a grocery market, retail space and open green space, as well as easy access to the metro station and East Capitol Street, a gateway thoroughfare for the City.

“One of my top priorities as mayor is to build a pathway to the middle class,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Part of that effort is providing residents with affordable, high-quality housing. But that is only half of the equation, residents also need jobs and retail options in their own neighborhoods. Capitol Gateway Marketplace will help make that goal a reality. I look forward to working with the development community and Ward 7 neighborhoods to ensure this project benefits D.C. residents and working-class families for generations to come.”

“This is a great day not only from Ward 7, but for the entire City of Washington. We are turning this area into one of our city’s premier neighborhoods, one where residents and visitors alike can work, shop, play, make convenient use of mass transit, and enjoy safe streets and high-quality homes. I’ve participated in countless community meetings regarding this effort, and I can tell you that everyone is excited about the future here,” D.C. Councilmember Yvette Alexander said.

“This project required tremendous dedication, unrelenting perseverance and strategic innovation from everyone involved. Through collaboration and commitment, we will soon deliver a community that serves our residents’ needs for housing, retail and food shopping, and jobs. I want to thank all of our partners, including the residents who played an integral role, and my staff for making this possible,” said Adrianne Todman, executive director of the D.C. Housing Authority.

“My company, A&R Development, is dedicated to transforming urban landscapes like this one for the better. We commit our time and resources to large-scale projects such as Capitol Gateway with one objective in mind: to create high-quality homes and communities that better serve the people who live, work, and learn there. We are proud of our contribution, grateful for our partners, and eager for the day when this place is bustling with people on their way to and from work, dinner, the park, the metro or the grocery store,” said Marjorie Rodgers Cheshire, A&R’s President and Chief Operating Officer.

“A new Walmart Supercenter at the Capitol Gateway Marketplace will not only serve as a retail anchor in the area and provide fresh groceries to residents, but will also create 300 jobs, provide opportunities for local contractors and vendors, and encourage investment by other businesses and retailers in this neighborhood,” said Nina Albert, Director, Public Affairs and Government Relations, with Walmart. “We are very appreciative to business and community leaders in Ward 7 for welcoming us and look forward to helping our new neighbors save money and live better.”

“To have a hand in bringing this transformative and anticipated community space to fruition is truly a proud moment for Clark Builders Group. Our team is looking forward to delivering Capitol Gateway Marketplace which will be a cornerstone for this community,” Keith Anderson, Clark Builder’s Group President said.

Media Contact Information:

  • A&R Development, Mark Cheshire, 443-560-1554
  • Clark Builders Group, Mike Shenkle, 703-779-5214
  • Walmart, Eve Hemsley, 443-878-7360

 ###

 

D.C.’s East Capitol Community Anticipating Big Change

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other city officials broke ground on the new Capitol Gateway Marketplace that will bring a Walmart Supercenter along with more than 300 affordable housing units. Watch video.

 

New Study Confirms Walmart’s Washington, DC Locations Have Positive Economic Impact on City.

HR&A Advisors’ Economic Impact Study Results Prove Walmart Provides Jobs, Saves Families Money, and Contributes to Local Communities

Washington, D.C., March 5, 2015 – Walmart Supercenters in Washington, DC have been proven to economically benefit the city and its residents, according to a new economic impact report. The study was conducted by HR&A Advisors, Inc. and found that Walmart’s two current DC locations not only create jobs and save families in the District money, but also greatly contribute to the city’s charitable organizations working to better the lives of those in DC. Key findings include:

  • Major Job Generation: Walmart currently employs 700 people at their two open DC locations; 65% of those 700 associates are Washington, DC residents. 810 total jobs (direct employment by Walmart plus multiplier jobs) are supported by Walmart’s first two stores and the construction of all 3 locations (including Fort Totten which is currently under construction) will support a total of 680 (direct and multiplier) jobs over the construction period.
  • Saving DC Families Money: Walmart can save a DC family of four approximately $1,300 per year, 18% of the average DC household’s annual grocery store bill.
  • Increasing Access to Healthy Food: Each Walmart is located in a USDA identified food desert, where healthy food options make up less than 10% of local retail offerings. Grocery sales make up 41% of Walmart’s total sales.
  • Investing in the Community: Through 2014, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have awarded $14 million to more than 200 not-for-profit organizations in DC. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s charitable contributions have supported 185 jobs, $16.5 million in total compensation and $197,000 in tax revenue.

 

Additional economic benefits analyzed/found by HR&A Advisors include the fact that Walmart is helping to offset the retail spending that leaks out of Washington, DC. The District loses approximately $3 billion in retail spending each year to neighboring areas due to a lack of shopping opportunities within the city. The shortfall in spending is seen across all major Walmart merchandise categories. Walmart’s DC locations also generate approximately $6.4 million in annual tax revenues to the District of Columbia. That number is equivalent to salaries for nearly 120 teachers, refurbishments of 6 playgrounds or debt service on bonds for the construction of 6 new or significantly modernized community centers.

 

Walmart_Economic_Infographic

 

HR&A Advisors also found that Walmart enhances economic development in the neighborhoods in which the stores are located.  New housing and new retail establishments have opened within or adjacent to the two existing Walmarts, as the stores serve as development anchors and bring a range of businesses which co-locate around the stores.

“Having done studies across the country there are many varying degrees of impact and measurements for success,” said Candace Damon, Vice Chairman, HR&A Advisors, Inc. “Walmart’s impact on the District of Columbia has been significant to date and includes a myriad of benefits from job creation, both construction and store employment, tax revenue generation, charitable giving, serving as a neighborhood anchor and cost savings to residents. Our expectation is that as Walmart’s presence in DC grows, so will the positive impact that it will have on the community.”

“Our goal when opening stores in Washington, DC was to contribute to the community through creating jobs, improving access to healthy and affordable groceries, and investing in local not-for-profits that are making a difference,” said Nina Albert, Director of Community Affairs, Walmart. “I think we have exceeded our expectations, as demonstrated by the results of HR&A’s study. We are very proud of the fact that we have made a positive impact in the city. We look forward to expanding our presence in DC and continuing to help to the region and its residents save money and live better.”

HR&A Advisors, Inc. is an industry-leading real estate, economic development and energy efficiency consulting firm. HR&A has provided strategic advisory services for some of the most complex mixed-use, neighborhood, downtown, campus, and regional development projects across North America and abroad for over thirty years. The firm began working with Walmart in June 2014 to conduct the economic impact study of their two DC stores.

Click the image below for the Executive Summary.

ExecSummary

Click the image below to read the full study.

FullReport

 

 

Proven to be Positively Impacting Our Nation’s Capital

By: HR&A Advisors, Inc.

Washington, DC has long lacked sufficient retail options for its diverse and growing base of residents. For years, District residents have had to travel to surrounding jurisdictions to shop for basic goods, costing the District lost sales taxes and undercutting the City’s efforts to support more vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods. Unmet retail potential in Washington, DC is estimated at over $3 billion per year based on 2013 data. Walmart’s arrival in the Washington, DC market in late 2013 is stemming that negative trend.

HR&A’s recent economic impact report demonstrates that the Walmart Supercenters in Washington, DC economically benefit the District and its residents. Walmart’s two current locations create jobs and save families that shop at Walmart money.  Walmart also contributes generously to the city’s charitable organizations working to better the lives of those in DC.

We found that Walmart currently employs 700 people at its two open locations; of those 700 employees, 65% are DC residents. DC residents who shop at Walmart are also benefiting from savings in their annual grocery store bill. HR&A found that Walmart can save a DC family of four approximately $1,300 per year. In addition, Walmart is helping to increase access to healthy food; each Walmart in or planned for the District is located in a USDA-identified food desert where healthy food shopping options make up less than 10% of neighborhood retail offerings.

Additional findings include:

Walmart_Economic_InfographicClick the image to see more detail

See the full report >>

HR&A Advisors, Inc. is an industry-leading real estate, economic development and energy efficiency consulting firm. The firm has provided strategic advisory services for some of the most complex mixed-use, neighborhood, downtown, campus, and regional development projects across North America and abroad for over thirty years. The firm began working with Walmart in June 2014 to conduct the economic impact study of its two DC stores.

 

Wal-Mart’s first year in D.C., by the numbers

March 18, 2015 - Wal-Mart’s entry into the D.C. market was celebrated by its fans and condemned by its critics. A new report on Wal-Mart’s impact on the District’s economy will likely get the same reception.

HR&A Advisors Inc. was retained by Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) to review the retail giant’s economic impact after one year in operation in D.C. The findings are entirely positive in the area of jobs, tax revenue and consumer savings.

Wal-Mart opened its first two D.C. stores, one on H Street NW and another on Georgia Avenue, in December 2013. A third, in Fort Totten, will open later this year. Two additional stores are planned, one at Skyland Shopping Center and the other at Capitol Gateway, both in Ward 7.

“The reaction to our stores has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re pleased with the feedback we’ve received from our customers and the community,” said Amanda Henneberg, Wal-Mart spokeswoman. “We have thousands of customers shopping our stores in D.C. every day, and it’s clear that D.C. residents and customers in surrounding areas are responding to our convenient and affordable merchandise and fresh food.”

Let’s get to the results. The numbers come from HR&A, which, according to Damon, had unfettered access to Wal-Mart data.

  • Wal-Mart generated more than $6 million in taxes in 2014 for the District, though the study does not break down sales versus income versus property tax revenue, and Wal-Mart would not release that information, citing its proprietary nature.
  • Construction of the H Street, Georgia Avenue and Fort Totten stores supported 630 direct and multiplier jobs.
  • The two open stores employ more than 700 people, of which 65 percent are D.C. residents. According to the report, “A higher percentage of Walmart employees lives in the same ward as the store than is typical for all employment in the two wards with open stores.”
  • Wal-Mart was responsible for half of the retail job growth in D.C. in 2013.
  • Wal-Mart is “directly attributable” for more than 26,000 square feet of ancillary development and 300 new residential units.
  • In a comparison of a basket of “off-brand items,” only Aldi came in with lower prices than Wal-Mart — $54 for Aldi and $75 for Wal-Mart. Target was third, followed by Shoppers Food Warehouse, Giant, Safeway and Harris Teeter.
  • The annual cost of food for a D.C. household is $7,300. Wal-Mart off-brand items sell for 18 percent on average cheaper than most other chains, according to HR&A, so Wal-Mart can save a family of four about $1,300 a year.

“The results are positive because the results are positive,” Damon said. “Wal-Mart does save people money.”

For Wal-Mart’s critics, however, the anecdotal evidence is clear. Respect D.C. released a report in October that claimed “drastic drops in revenue” for small businesses along upper Georgia Avenue. Wal-Mart, it said, has had a “harmful impact” on the Brightwood community. Proprietors said revenue fell by 20 to 85 percent, the group reported, because of concessions to the world’s largest retailer and its low prices.

Walmart Economic Impact Study

Story originally published by Michael Neibauer, Washington Business Journal. Click here to view original story.

 

Walmart Employees To Get Raises

February 19, 2015 – by Hadley Malcolm, USA TODAY

After years of employee protests and outrage over meager pay, Walmart said Thursday that it will spend $1 billion this year to give raises to half a million workers.

About 500,000 full- and part-time associates at both Walmart and the company’s Sam’s Club warehouse stores will start making $9 an hour or more in April. The world’s largest retailer made the announcement Thursday as part of its fourth-quarter earnings report. That’s at least $1.75 more than the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25. By February 2016, hourly employees will make at least $10 an hour after completing about six months of training.

CEO Doug McMillon said that the decision to hike wages was made as part of a strategy to retain employees and improve customer service.

“We want associates that care about the company and are highly engaged in our business and are leaning in,” he said. “Those feelings generate a customer experience that drives growth.”

Walmart shares closed down 3.21% in afternoon trading to $83.52.

Walmart employs more than 1.3 million people in the U.S. Of the 500,000 employees getting raises, approximately 6,000 currently make the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour, says spokesperson Kory Lundberg. The remaining 494,000 employees getting raises are either making between $7.25 and $9 an hour, or more than $9 an hour and are getting raises to meet new minimum or maximum pay grades for certain positions.

Full-time employees currently make an average of $12.85 an hour, and part-time employees make an average of $9.48, Lundberg says. Those averages will increase to $13 and $10 respectively under the new plan.

The announcement comes as Walmart has experienced declining store traffic for months and has lost some of its edge as a leader on price, as dollar stores, Amazon, Target and other rivals become more competitive.

Walmart has also been called out over the years by employees and advocacy groups for not paying employees enough to live on and employees having to seek welfare assistance. Protesters most recently flanked stores during the holiday season, particularly around Thanksgiving and Black Friday, to push for higher wages.

Anthony Rodriguez, a 26-year-old store associate in Rosemead, Calif., has participated in several protests as a member of OUR Walmart, a labor union-backed employee advocacy group. He currently makes $9.40 an hour after eight months with the company. He’ll make $10 an hour when the minimum wage goes up next February.

“It’s a great start,” he said about the wage increases. “I think Walmart is starting to realize that we will not stay quiet and we will keep pushing forward and they have to acknowledge that.”

The move could also ultimately lead to higher foot traffic and sales at Walmart, which hasn’t been able to sustain significant sales momentum since the recession, says Brian Yarbrough, analyst with Edward Jones. Same-store sales for the year ended Jan. 30 increased just 0.5%, compared with a 0.6% decline for the prior year.

“If you look at retailers that invest in their people and pay more … these businesses tend to have much more consistent and better sales trends,” Yarbrough says.

Yannet Lathrop, a policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project, says Walmart’s move is, “definitely a step in the right direction.” But she added, “It’s not enough to raise people above poverty,” noting that a $10 hourly wage provides a worker an annual salary of less than $21,000. “(Workers) will continue to struggle,” she says.

But Josh Bivens, director of research and policy for the Economic Policy Institute, called the bump in pay “a tangible raise,” noting that affected workers could receive an additional $2,000 a year.

He says the pay hike is likely to have a ripple effect on retailers who previously said boosting wages would make them less able to compete with Walmart on price. “At the very least, it takes away that excuse from other retailers,” he says.

In a statement to USA TODAY, Target said it already pays above federal minimum wage at all of its stores but would not provide specific figures. “We remain committed to offering market competitive wages that can help attract and retain great talent,” the company said.

Lathrop and Bivens largely attribute Walmart’s move to protests in recent years by OUR Walmart, which has called for a $15 hourly wage.

The wage rallies — along with similar demonstrations by fast-food workers across the country — have raised national awareness about the plight of low-paid employees and helped spark minimum wage increases in many states, Lathrop and Bivens say.

This year, 20 states have raised their pay floors, leaving 28 states above the federal minimum. Minimum pay is scheduled to rise in Alaska next week and in Delaware on June 1.

Walmart also announced a $100 million commitment over five years toward career training for entry-level workers. That includes a training program Walmart has been piloting to teach new employees skills such as communication, merchandising, customer service and the basic financials of retail, said Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. Walmart also recently made changes to its 401(k) retirement accounts, allowing employees to contribute from day one on the job instead of having to wait a year.

“There is a holistic approach to creating an environment where people want to work at Walmart and want to stay at Walmart,” McMillon said. “The wage market has always been competitive. We make adjustments like this to make sure we can attract and retain the talent we need.”

Story by Hadley Malcolm originally appeared in USA TODAY.

 

Community of Hope & Walmart Volunteers Bring Holiday Cheer to Families of Girard Street Apartments

On Tuesday, December 16, 2014, Community of Hope and Walmart volunteers invited families currently living in Girard Street

Community of Hope & Walmart Volunteers Bring Holiday Cheer to Families of Girard Street Apartments

Apartments, located in Washington DC, to a holiday celebration in one of the complex’s common areas. During the celebration, Walmart volunteers along with Community of Hope staff distributed gift cards provided by Walmart. Keeping in the holiday spirit, candy canes and holiday-themed cookies were passed out by staff and volunteers to residents while holiday music was being played in the background.

 

 

Want A Job With Bonuses, 401(k) Match, Health Insurance, And More? Work For Walmart

Forbes

by: Jeffrey Dorfman – Contributor
originally posted on Forbes

December 11, 2014

Walmart is the employer that unions and many workers-rights advocates love to hate. Yet, when Walmart opens up new stores, they typically receive thousands of applicants competing for the few hundred jobs available. If Walmart is as horrible employer as often claimed, why do so many people want to work there? The answer is that the thousands who want to work at Walmart know more about working at Walmart than those continually protesting against it.

Many misconceptions about Walmart’s pay and benefits are based on data that people have inferred from partial information that is available publicly, not from a full and complete picture of their compensation package. (Full disclosure: I received funding from the National Retail Federation Foundation to study wages in the retail industry. As part of that study, I received data from Walmart on their pay practices. However, Walmart had no role in the writing of this column.)

Here are the facts about working at Walmart. The average hourly associate has a total compensation package of $14.50 per hour. Full-time hourly associates make an average of $12.94 per hour in wages. On top of the pay, hourly associates receive quarterly bonuses based on store performance that average $580 per year. Employees are eligible for health insurance and, if they choose to sign up for it, Walmart pays 75 percent of the premium cost.

Hourly associates all can contribute to a 401(k) retirement plan and Walmart matches employee contributions for the first 6 percent of each employee’s pay. Employees can also buy company stock and Walmart will match those purchases with shares equal to 15 percent of those purchased by the employees. Finally, employees all receive an employee discount of 10 percent off on purchases at Walmart.

All of these benefits together can add up to the equivalent of $4.50 per hour, meaning that an average full-time hourly associate could have total compensation of about $17.40 per hour or about $35,000 per year.

In addition to these figures, it is worth noting that annual raises for hourly associates have averaged more than 3 percent per year over the past eight years which includes the recent recession when raises for most workers have been few and far between. About 160,000 associates get promoted each year with 7,000 hourly associates entering management ranks annually. More than three-quarters of all Walmart store managers started as hourly associates.

Does all this make Walmart a worker’s paradise? That depends on how much you are making in your current job (if you have one) and what benefits come with that current job position. A significant number of workers make less than $15 per hour in total compensation, so there are lots of people who would see Walmart’s pay package as a step up. The enormous number of applications Walmart receives for each new store opening seems to indicate that is true: lots of people want to work at Walmart.

Given all this, why are so many people so deeply invested in fighting Walmart store openings and complaining about their pay policies? Several reasons seem to be in play. First, much of the protesting is organized by unions who are actually much more interested in gaining the opportunity to collect union dues from Walmart’s workers than they are in raising the wages of the people working at Walmart. Second, many people honestly complain about pay at Walmart because they have been misled about what Walmart really pays. They assume almost all the associates are making minimum wage or slightly above it. Hopefully, these people will read this column and adjust their behavior to reflect the truth about what Walmart pays.

In an economy where millions of people are still unemployed or underemployed, demonizing any employer is probably a bad idea. It gets much worse when the demonizing is based on lies and distortions. The data show that Walmart offers attractive pay and benefits to its employees. People who find those offers unsatisfactory should find another place to work rather than spending their energy complaining about jobs that hundreds of thousands of people find rewarding.