Earlier this year, Wal-Mart raised its starting pay to $9 an hour. It’ll go up to $10 an hour next year. Wal-Mart says the cost of the higher pay, plus training and additional managers, adds up to $2.7 billion over two years. Charlie O’Shea, a senior retail analyst at Moody’s, maintains it’ll be worth it.
“One of the key factors facing all retail is employee turnover,” he said. “And if you can find a way to kind of reduce that you cut your training costs.”
But Wal-Mart’s critics want the company to pay $15 an hour. A group called OUR Walmart is planning demonstrations for the 15 days leading up to Black Friday. They say Wal-Mart workers live paycheck to paycheck.
Denise Barlage is a former Wal-Mart worker. She’ll be among a group of fasting protesters.
“We need to call attention to how people out there that are suffering that won’t be able to have Thanksgiving dinners with their families because they’ll be working,” she said.
But Walmart points to its investments in higher wages and training, and says employees working Thanksgiving will get a free dinner, and extra pay.
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