Walmart eliminating minimum wage pay: Will affect about 6,000 workers.

Walmart Says It’s Phasing Out Minimum Wage Pay

Walmart Says It’s Phasing Out Minimum Wage Pay

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Oct. 16 2014 1:54 PM

Walmart Says It’s Phasing Out Minimum Wage Pay

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A Walmart employee rings up merchandise in Los Angeles.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Today in tiny acts of corporate decency: The CEO of Walmart says the retailer plans to eventually phase out minimum-wage pay at its stores. “We only have a few thousand associates in the U.S., less than 6,000 of our 1.3 million associates in the U.S., that currently make a minimum wage and it is our intention over time that we will be in a situation where we don't pay minimum wage at all," Chief Executive Douglas McMillon told reporters on Wednesday. For reference, Walmart says hourly workers at its stores make an average of $11.83 per hour, including both full- and part-time employees.

According to spokesman Kory Lundberg, most of Walmart’s minimum-wage workers are in entry-level positions. He told me the company will likely adjust pay in those jobs “so that nobody is coming at the minimum.” He also clarified that the company plans to pay above the state or city wage floor wherever it's higher than the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

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As Reuters was quick to point out, this is a largely symbolic gesture that’s, at the moment, light on details. (How much above the minimum will the company pay? I asked Lundberg in a follow-up email, and will update this post when he responds.) But it’s another sign that ongoing protests by labor activists—more of which took place today—are at least having some success in pressuring the company to improve its treatment of workers on the margins.

Jordan Weissmann is Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.