So Wal-Mart did a survey and found that the Bentonville, Ark.-based company isn't competitive in its wages. So like any major company responding to market pressures, it decided to raise its wages to attract and retain employees.
Reports the Times's Michael Barbaro:
Wal-Mart Stores, the nation's largest employer, said yesterday that it would raise starting salaries at one-third of its United States stores by about 6 percent. And the company also said it would impose a wage cap on certain positions.
Wal-Mart said it decided to increase starting wages after performing a routine survey in several markets around the country. The survey found that the company needed to improve hourly pay to remain competitive with local retailers.
Of course, as with any workplace, you're bound to find employees who are still dissatisifed with their pay. Barbaro certainly did:
Cynthia Murray, who works at a Wal-Mart in Laurel, Md., and has made statements critical of the company at labor rallies, said her starting salary at Wal-Mart five years ago was $7.50 an hour.
"With the prices of everything going up," a 6 percent raise on a starting salary is not impressive, Ms. Murray said. She said she needed $40 a week just to fill her car's gasoline tank.
But, wait a minute. Barbaro is in New York, Murray works in Laurel, Md. He didn't just bump into her at a picket line while shopping for school supplies.
In fact not only is Murray profiled on the labor union-backed WakeUpWalMart.com Web site, according to the August 2 New York Daily News, she is an active campaigner for the left-wing anti-Wal-Mart group:
It's more than a bit odd to leave out this tidbit, considering Barbaro uses Wake-Up Wal-Mart as a source. In July over at the MRC's BusinessandMedia.org, I wrote about how Michael Barbaro went public with a change in Wal-Mart shoplifting policy, courtesy of internal documents leaked to him by WakeUpWalMart.com:
A union-funded campaign against Wal-Mart kicked off a 35-day, 35-city road trip yesterday in Times Square.
Six WakeUpWalMart.com staffers rolled into town on a rented bus emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes - and slogans like "Join the Fight for a Better America."
With about two dozen New York City volunteers - and Wal-Mart employee Cynthia Murray, who took days off from her job - they worked the crowds at Broadway and W. 45th St.
"The changes in Wal-Mart's theft policy are described in 30 pages of documents that were provided to The New York Times by WakeUpWalMart.com, a group backed by unions that have tried to organize Wal-Mart workers in the
," Barbaro acknowledged in his story. United States
WakeUp Wal-Mart's earliest reference to the policy change came in a July 13 blog post on its Web site, which excerpted the Barbaro story without comment. In other words, the activist group waited to go public with its comments on the policy until after the Times broke the story.