March 20, 2015

Erica Smiley

Target’s Wage Increase Proves Walmart Sets Standards for the Entire Retail Industry

Original photo via Flickr user zooboing

This week, news reports revealed that Target, the second largest U.S. retailer, will raise its starting minimum wage for all of its employees to $9 an hour next month. This news comes on the heels of Walmart, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and The Gap announcing wage raises across their stores.

Make no mistake, the sweeping change in employment policies is not a result of corporate benevolence. Credit for these raises is due to the persistent efforts of OUR Walmart members and their allies for years of protesting and speaking out for better jobs.

As Reuters reported:

“The move comes in the face of pressure from labor groups and allies calling for a “living wage” at retailers and fast-food companies across the country.”

We’re elated, but not surprised that up to a million women and men working in retail will see their wages hiked this spring. It’s proof positive that Walmart has a ripple effect across the retail industry. And it’s why we’ll keep pressing Walmart to provide its employees with $15 an hour and full-time hours so that more of our friends and neighbors can make ends meet.

As the largest U.S. employer, Walmart sets the standard not just for the retail and service industries, but for the economy as a whole. Walmart’s poor labor practices and standards put pressure on many other businesses to lower wages and benefits in order to compete. The result is a Walmart economy where our jobs, health care and labor standards have all downgraded.

But as Target’s wage hike makes clear, if we can change Walmart, we can improve the lives of all working people.

So for those of you that have always wondered why we haven’t targeted Target for the company’s low wages, poor schedules and benefits, hopefully this clears things up:

Organization United for RespectMaking Change, & The Wal*Mart 1 Percent, congratulations on changing an entire industry!

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