Walmart executives worried about the recent spate of labor activity against the retailer would probably tell you that they cannot possibly offer higher wages to their employees while maintaining their brand identifier of low prices. They offer what the market will bear in terms of wages, they would say, and anything more would represent a loss for their business, and would impact shoppers on tight budgets. It’s just not possible.
The progressive policy organization Demos begs to differ. They released a report today on Walmart, but also the overall retail sector, one of the fastest-growing in the United States, with over 15 million workers. The report stipulates that retail sales employees make on average around $21,500 a year. According to Demos, a bump in salary to $25,000 a year, roughly a full-time employee making $12.50 an hour, would benefit over 5 million workers in the sector with an average 27% wage increase. The increase would lift over 750,000 employees out of poverty, and would significantly aid another 750,000 families right at the poverty line.