Wal-Mart to raise wages for 100,000 U.S. workers in some departments

Tue Jun 2, 2015 2:18pm EDT
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By Sruthi Ramakrishnan

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote) said it would raise minimum wages for over 100,000 U.S. employees including some department managers and deli workers, its second wage hike this year.

Wal-Mart, the largest private employer in the United States with 1.3 million U.S. workers, has been targeted by labor groups for its minimum wages. The company said in February that it would raise minimum wages for 500,000 U.S. employees.

The wage increases seem aimed at discouraging worker unionization, said Gary Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark University. "The general feeling is, 'Why join the union to negotiate with Wal-Mart when Wal-Mart takes care of its own?'" he said.

Retailers and fast food chains including McDonald's Corp (MCD.N: Quote), Target Corp (TGT.N: Quote) and TJX Cos TJX.N have also raised wages as they struggle to retain workers, who switch between the two industries in a tightening labor market.

"We do think this (wage increases) will help reduce turnover and increase retention," Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg said.

Wal-Mart does not disclose its workforce turnover rate. Lundberg said the rate was below the industry average.

The company said on Tuesday that it would increase hourly wages for managers of service-oriented departments such as electronics and auto care from July to $13-$24.70 from $10.30-$20.09.

Hourly wage of managers of departments such as clothing and consumer products will rise to $10.90-$20.71 from $9.90-$19.31.   Continued...

Larry Born, a former Walmart employee from Park Forest, Illinois, takes part in a demonstration for higher wages and better working conditions, outside of a Walmart during Black Friday shopping in Chicago November 28, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Nelles