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.read more
On July 28, 2014, Walmart donated $1,000 in gift cards and $150 worth of school supplies to the teachers of Paul Public Charter School for their commitment to educating the young minds of DC-based children.
The donations, which were presented to Danielle Singh, Principal, Paul PCS Middle School, and Kenya Wilson, Principal, Paul PCS International High School, are part of Walmart’s first-ever Teacher Appreciation Week. From July 25-31, teachers who shop at Walmart stores are eligible to receive an eGift Card for 10 percent back on nearly 15,000 products – everything from pencils and glue to classroom décor.
“We know that teachers are the lifeblood of our community and integral to the growth and success of our young people,” said Nina Albert, Director of Community Affairs for Walmart. “Walmart is committed to doing our part by contributing to our local educators and providing the tools they need at an affordable price.”
With data showing 53 percent of teachers received less in funding last year, Walmart is committed to supporting local educators. To date, Walmart has donated more than $20 million to U.S. educators in the last five years and remains committed to being a valued and trusted neighbor locally and nationwide.
In early 2014 Supermarket News reviewed four stores over the course of three weeks in the Washington, D.C. area. The results of which showed that Walmart was by far the leader in helping customers save money. Walmart had the lowest-priced items and the least expensive grocery list overall.
It didn’t take long for H Street’s new Wal-Mart to establish itself as a good neighbor in the eyes of one local veterans organization.
When the caterer who volunteered to donate food for the United States Veterans Initiative D.C. chapter’s annual holiday dinner had to cancel at the last minute, the big box retailer was among the network of local businesses that stepped in to ensure the feast could go on.
Wal-Mart ponied up enough turkey, ham, green beans, stuffing, salad and mashed potatoes to feed about 30 local veterans who are served by the U.S. VETS permanent housing program, which gives otherwise homeless veterans a place to live.
Wednesday night’s hearty holiday dinner was served at the Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene Community Service Center in Southeast D.C.
D.C.-based training and communications firm Niche Workforce Solutions volunteered its community relations capabilities to help connect Wal-Mart with the nonprofit.
H Street store manager Eric Quist, a Navy veteran, was instrumental to making the donation possible, according to NWS.
“We were very excited,” said Linda Clark Holland, program manager for U.S. VETS. “We had no idea that they would be able to do so much.”
In November 2010, Walmart announced a plan to bring more jobs, shopping options and fresh food choices to Washington, D.C. residents in an effort to expand access and opportunity to more underserved communities in the city.
From day one, we’ve been listening to residents to better understand the unique challenges they face and how our stores might play a role in forging solutions. We thought it was important to document what we heard and share it with the city with a Community Partnership Initiative (Read more at the Washington Post Opinions) and reinforce our commitment to help stimulate economic development, expand access to affordable groceries and create quality jobs in the city.
Our agreement spelled out our plans to stock local products, allow space for local retailers, provide good jobs, ensure an inclusive construction process, fund transportation measures, create a city-wide job training program, and support non-profits to help fulfill unmet needs throughout the city.
We look forward to being a good neighbor here for decades to come.
A psychology major, Alex Barron was quickly lured to the retail and now has 25 years under his belt, from the May Co. to Office Max to the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, where he oversees 30,000 associates in 92 stores from Fredericksburg to Delaware to West Virginia. Now, he’s squarely focused on a major, local undertaking: opening D.C.’s first Wal-Marts before the end of 2013.
Next big goal: To open four additional stores in the Washington area. I’m especially excited about the stores that will open east of the Anacostia in Ward 7. I’ve driven those neighborhoods, and there’s a food desert there, and I know that community needs Wal-Mart.
What are you like to work for? I’m firm but fair, and I also pride myself on being very approachable and listening to the opinion of my associates. Sam Walton, our founder, he believed the best ideas came from associates who work in our stores every day. I listen and try to get some of those great ideas and move the business forward.
Why switch from psychology to retail? When I graduated from college, I had a couple of choices. I was offered a fellowship for a doctorate degree in clinical psychology. But at the same time, I came from a family of modest means. I interviewed with the May Co. out of St. Louis and they offered me an entry-level, executive-type salary, and it was more money than my father was making the time. It was $20,000. I jumped all over it and decided to go into retail. Twenty-five years later, I’m still here.
Best lesson from your mentor: Tom Sands, [now president of Gap North America], told me once as I was in the throes of making a tough decision – he said make sure you give equal consideration to the heart and to the head, because both are very important.
Best business decision: The real estate that we end up leasing, we’ll lease for the next 50 to 60 to 70 years. So it’s very important that we make the right decision. And the other important thing is the folks we hire to work in those stores.
You were directly involved in D.C. hiring? For the two D.C. stores, I sat in every management interview. I did that because the stores are so important to the region and to the company.
How often are you in Wal-Mart stores? I love to get into stores. I try to get into at least two stores a day, four days a week. Maybe you can say I’m based in my stores.
Your earliest memory: My first really vivid memory is of my father, who was in the Army for 24 years. He retired after his second tour of duty in Vietnam and came home. I had a very clear memory of him coming home in his uniform, somewhat of a stranger to me.
Favorite book: One is a Wal-Mart book, Sam Walton’s autobiography. I’ve been in retail for 25 years, and I read his book four years ago when I joined the company. Everything I’d learned in my 21 years of retail at that time, Sam talked about in his book that he’d written years before. And Colin Powell’s autobiography. It really connected to me to given what my father may have gone through. That was a very moving, emotional and inspiring book.
Pet peeve: Poor customer service. If I go into a restaurant or a retailer or any place that should provide good customer service, and they don’t, I’m not a happy camper.
Stores to provide access to fresh and affordable groceries, pharmacy, and general merchandise; Create approximately 300 jobs each.
Walmart will open its first two stores in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 8:00am. One Walmart is located at the intersection of Georgia and Missouri Avenues NW (5929 Georgia Ave, NW). The other Walmart is located at the intersection of 1st and H Streets NW (99 H St NW).
The new stores will provide access to a full grocery selection, fresh produce, bakery, delicatessen, organic food items, full-service pharmacy and $4 prescription program, as well as a broad assortment of general merchandise including apparel and electronics.
The company is hiring approximately 300 associates for each store. Walmart provides a benefits program to eligible full- and part-time associates. For example, it provides a variety of affordable health and well-being benefits including health-care coverage with no lifetime maximum. Walmart also offers eligible associates matching 401(k) contributions of up to 6 percent of pay, discounts on general merchandise, an Associate Stock Purchase Program and company-paid life insurance. Additionally, eligible associates receive a quarterly incentive based on store performance.
Alvin Robinson is the store manager for the 103,000-square-foot Walmart on Georgia Ave. NW. Alvin was hired into Walmart’s management training program two years ago and served as store manager of the Walmart Supercenter in Frederick, MD prior to coming to D.C.
Eric Quist is the store manager for the 74,000-square-foot Walmart on H St. NW. Eric is a 7-year Navy veteran who has been working with Walmart for the past 19 years.
Congratulations to the Recreation Wish List Committee for being the DC Chamber of Commerce 2013 Community Impact Award Recipient
In addition to this honor and for the first time in Chamber Choice Award event’s history, the Chamber presented the RWLC with a cash award for $5,000 to support the children and youth of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center. It was an amazing night for all present. Other honorees included the Fort Meyer Construction Company; Thomas J. Baltimore, Jr., President and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust; Fort Lincoln New Town Corp.; Giant Foods; Industrial Bank, and Gina F. Adams, corporate vice president for government affairs at FedEx Corporation.
“We are so honored to receive this award. It is wonderful to be in such great company. Being a part of the Chamber has afforded us so many opportunities to network with other organizations, it has been just amazing.” I thank the Chamber and all the hard working board members and staff who have made this possible,” said Cora Masters Barry, CEO/Founder of Recreation Wish List Committee and Founder of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center.
For more information about the Recreation Wish List Committee and to support the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, please visit www.recreationwishlist.org or call the RWLC’s administrative office at 202-678-7530.
More often than not, when people think about food insecurity they assume that it is a result of an individual’s financial situation. This September, the USDA reported that an estimated 14.5 percent of American households were food insecure for at least some time during 2012. This means that 17.6 million American households lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.
Thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation, 185,000 of these diabetic and heart-healthy meals are making their way into the homes of over 400 of our clients. While many people know the retail giant for their support of hunger relief, what many people do not know about is their commitment to providing healthier food that can help families live healthier lives. As a result of their support for our nutrition-based meals we have been able to make a significant impact in the community for more than 25 years. And, with continued support from organizations like these, we will able to ensure that healthy, nutritious meals make their way into the homes of all of our neighbors who need them most.
With two stores under construction and the fight over the District’s living wage bill history, Wal-Mart has hung the “help wanted” sign. The nation’s largest retailer has announced 600 job openings at two of its stores scheduled to open later this year and hundreds of applicants have already answered the call. “I need a job bad, I just had a baby,” Capri Wofford of D.C. said as she stood in line at one of two Wal-Mart hiring centers that opened their doors Monday. “I do have experience in the grocery department, so I’m hoping to bring my skills to Wal-Mart,” added another hopeful Wal-Mart employee, Tyron Mitchell also of D.C.
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