Joe Skipper / Reuters
- Walmart announced last month that it will increase its minimum wage from $12 an hour to $14 an hour.
- The move has been met with mixed reactions, with some saying it’s a good start but not enough.
- The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, with some states setting higher minimums.
Walmart is set to boost its minimum wage for workers to $14 an hour in the coming weeks.
But the move is receiving mixed reactions from Walmart employees.
Several workers told Insider or wrote on social media that the new minimum wage is not sufficient.
“It seems like Walmart executives are finally listening to what Walmart associates have been saying for years, that we need higher wages to make ends meet in today’s economy,” said Emily Francois, a Walmart worker in Texas who is a leader for retail-worker advocacy nonprofit United for Respect.
“But a higher poverty wage isn’t enough.” Francois has argued for a $25-an-hour wage.
In response to critiques from workers, Walmart spokeswoman Anne Hatfield told Insider in an emailed statement that the company has been “continuously raising wages and is starting the new year by investing in higher pay for frontline associates — the average U.S. associate now makes more than $17.50/hour as a result.” The wage increase will be reflected in employees’ March 2 paychecks, the retailer said.
One Walmart worker from Kentucky, who asked to be anonymous for fear of retaliation, told Insider that he makes $16.53 an hour and his store has had a base pay of $14 an hour for more than a year.
“I live in a rural area with lower cost of living and it still is barely enough,” he said. “The cost of living is higher than this, and it still makes it near impossible to live alone with the ($14 per hour) pay.”
But for employees making the company’s current minimum wage of $12 per hour, the incoming boost to their pay is welcome news.
A Walmart worker in Oklahoma told Insider they think the wage boost is enough “especially given the fact that some places around me still pay below $10.”
Up until the middle of last decade, Walmart’s minimum wage matched the federal level at $7.25. The retailer’s minimum rose to $9 per hour in 2015, to $11 an hour in 2018, and then to the current $12 an hour in 2021.
Still, Walmart’s starting wage falls below those of several of its competitors.
Amazon raised its minimum wage for all US employees to $15 per hour in 2018. One year later, Target also announced it would be raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour. And in 2021, Costco announced that its employees would be paid a minimum of $17 per hour.
And the move may have minimal impact on those who already make at least $14 per hour — which includes the vast majority of workers at some Walmart stores.
A store manager in Texas told Insider that his store currently has a base pay of $13 per hour and only roughly 20% of his employees will directly benefit from the minimum wage increase. The manager asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation.
The move is “a step in the right direction” but does not help “a wide swathe of associates,” he said.
Are you a Walmart associate? Reach out to the reporter Ben Tobin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know what you think of the minimum wage increase.