Walmart is forced to pay more in Williston, ND because all their employees would leave to take much higher paying jobs in the oil industry. Walmart doesn’t do anything out of the goodness of their hearts.
If Walmart can’t afford to pay decent wages, who can? Unfortunately most of the money is paid to the executives, as is the case with most corporations these days. Much less of the wealth is spread to those on the bottom of the ladder than in years passed. Fact is if Walmart were a country it would have a higher GDP than Norway. In my opinion it is this corporation and a handful of others that are also to blame for the fact that most products sold in this country are imported from elsewhere as these huge companies conciously made the decision at one point to stop buying domestically union made products. Now here we are almost completely without anything of an industrial infrastructure, relying on others that, as the debt piles up, may not always be so friendly and willing to manufacture our goods. I try not to shop there but the last few times everything I have bought has been made domestically.
There is a labor shortage in ND due to the oil boom. The United States has a mandatory minimum wage of $7.25 an hour in every State unless the state raises the minimum wage. Walmart owns all of their stores and the possible corporate taxes in a market with a small amount of total sales would be negligible.
Twenty-five years ago I happened to move to a city that was having a massive expansion with new housing. All the retailers were paying high wages due to a labor shortage. After two years all those jobs went back to minimum wage.
Okay so the message I get is that Wal-Mart will pay more if you are in a town with a labor shortage. I would like to see how other towns that are experiencing an oil boom that have a Wal-Mart to compare.
This makes sense as I couldn’t see the logic of how a state that has no minimum wage law at the State level would have a direct effect on the wages at this Wal-Mart.
From what I have read the rents in Williston are nearly as high as they are in Manhattan. So Wal-mart’s $17 an hour wage is probably equivalent to minimum wage anyplace else. Also I would want to know what the prices are like at this Walmart relative to the typical Walmart, it could very well be that prices in Williston are significantly higher.
I’m always surprised at how angry people at CAF get at the concept of a higher minimum wage. Costco has been paying their employees well above the minimum wage for years and has been unquestionably successful (this is a list of Costco wages).
With that being said, this specific Walmart is unquestionably raising the wage because of the surrounding living expenses. Towns near the Canadian Oil Sands are the same way: there is a significant hike in wages but the only compensates for living expenses.
What there is even a question like this shows how economically illiterate people are. Makes me wonder how many Congressmen would even be able to figure this out, and they’re supposed to know what is “best” for us.
I don’t get angry at promoting a minimum wage to preserve dignity of low income workers, I get angry with the false presumption that (1) it is good for the economy, and (2) ignores the fact that a corporation, like Walmart, has a legal fiduciary duty to its shareholders. Artificially increasing its costs of doing business is hardly in the best interest of its shareholders and that shareholder can include your grandma’s pension fund.
Walmart generally pays higher than the minimum wage for starting salary (for instance, it’s $8.25 at the store where I work.) But the starting salary for cashiers in Hobbs, Artesia, and Carlsbad (all in New Mexico) is $10/hr. Why? Because of the oil boom in Texas. And it’s not just Walmart, either. I talked to some first year teachers who were discussing the merits of moving to one of those towns because teachers were being offered bonuses for transferring to those districts. Nothing was said about the cost of living in those towns but they’re all small towns and pretty much hours away from the nearest big cities.
Costco has a very different business model from WalMart. In order to shop at a Costco, you have to pay an annual membership fee, and you deal with a comparatively smaller selection of items for sale. The Costco customer is typically more up-market than the typical WalMart customer, or is a small business owner where buying in bulk is preferred. WalMart, in contrast, carries a much larger selection of goods, and sells them at a modest profit margin (typically 3-3.5%) making a large number of what used to be considered luxury goods available to the lower classes. Raising Walmart’s cost of doing business isn’t going to hurt most of the people advocating for higher wages for their employees (Jay-Z likely doesn’t get his Rolex Platinum Day-Date watch there), but it will hurt people at the lower end of the economic scale who rely on WalMart.