Walmart and Protestors Clash Over Wages

  • Share
  • Read Later
Elise Amendola/ AP

Update: 9:15 p.m. EST on October 23, 2013

On Wednesday, OUR Walmart, a union-backed workers’ group held a press conference in Washington, D.C. protesting Walmart’s wages. In the conference, a representative from the group pointed out that Bill Simon, the president and CEO of Walmart U.S. said 475,000 of Walmart’s associates earned more than $25,000 per year in a presentation at the Goldman Sachs’ Global Retailing conference last month.

Critics extrapolated that if Walmart has 1.4 million total workers, more than half of its workers are earning less than a living wage, as Bloomberg Businessweek reported Wednesday.

However, Walmart reached out to TIME to clarify that of its 1.4 million U.S. workers, about 1.3 million are hourly associates. (Others are store management and corporate.) Slightly fewer than one million of those hourly associates have been with the company long enough to have an annual wage. Of those one million workers, more than half are full-time. And, Walmart spokesperson Kory Lundberg says, “We have more than 475,000 hourly associates earning more than $25,000” per year.

In short, by the company’s own employment estimates, at least 25,000 full-time, hourly workers earn less than $25,000 per year — far fewer than protestors estimated.

Walmart, the country’s biggest private employer, has been the target of labor protests and congressional criticism in the past for its low wages. A May study found that 300 employees at one Supercenter in Wisconsin required $900,000 worth of public assistance per year, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

This story has been updated to include Walmart’s response to protestors’ claims.

[Bloomberg Businessweek]