Walmart made sure news media in every state recorded its distribution of bonuses from the corporate tax windfall.
In Arkansas, Walmart said it sent out $13.9 million in bonuses Thursday. It had said earlier that minimum wage was rising to $11 an hour and it was expanding maternal and parental leave benefits.
In total, Walmart said it sent $560 million to 890,000 employees nationwide. All good.
But here’s context from a Walmart critic, Making Change at Walmart, with a statement from director Randy Parraz:
“The only thing historic about Walmart’s announcement of one-time bonus is the $1.7 billion that Walmart will pocket annually going forward even as countless of its hard-working employees struggle to survive. Could you imagine if Walmart had actually dedicated this tax windfall to its employees versus its shareholders? Imagine how many lives could be changed, but that apparently is not the Walmart way.”
The news release continued:
Walmart Facts: The Truth About Wage & Salary Changes:
* Walmart expects to save $2 billion in cash this year alone due to the recent tax cuts, but the total amount Walmart spent on one-time-bonuses nationwide was only $400 million.
* Walmart is not giving $1,000 cash bonuses to all workers, only those who have worked at Walmart for 20+ years. Based on Walmart having approximately 1.1 million hourly workers, the average one-time bonus nationwide will likely be less than $400.
Based on the $2 billion annual tax savings and accounting for the reportedly $300 million cost of the $11/hr. starting wage increase, Walmart will pocket $1.7 billion annually going forward.
* Hourly wages for Walmart workers making above $11 dollars will stay the same, which, for a Walmart worker with a family of 3 making $11/hr. at 34 hours per week, is still below the poverty level.
* While the wage increase seems likely a continuation of an existing strategy, Walmart was required to comply with minimum wage increases in 18 states this year.
* Half of Walmart’s 1.1 million U.S. workers are part-time hourly associates and will not receive ANY paid maternity or parental leave benefits
* Since these wage increases and bonuses were announced in January, Walmart has closed 63 Sam’s Club locations, laying off nearly 10,000 employees; eliminated 3,500 Walmart store co-manager positions, replacing them with lower paying assistant manager positions; slashed 500 corporate jobs; and announced it was expanding its Scan and Go technology to 100 more stores – threatening more front end positions.
* In the last 2 years, Walmart will have eliminated an estimated 30,000 jobs and closed more than 170 stores. More closures and layoffs are possible as Walmart continues to reorient its business toward e-commerce and develop
* Between 2013 and 2016, Walmart and Sam’s Club have received taxpayer-funded development subsidies valued at more than $43 million nationwide.
To see how much Walmart has cost each state in corporate tax welfare, check out Americans for Tax Fairness 2014 comprehensive report, How Taxpayers Subsidize America’s Biggest Employer and Richest Family [page 10, table 1].
To see how much Walmart has cost each state in public welfare, check out Disclosures of Employers Whose Workers and their Dependents are Using State Health Insurance Programs by Goods Jobs First, last updated in 2013.