Wal-Mart’s Promotion Spree: Good Policy or Just Good Press?
Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), the world’s largest private employer with about 2.1 million employees, announced on October 29 that it’s “kicking off its holiday season with a special focus on more career opportunities for associates.” Festivities include, but are not limited to, 25,000 promotions during the fourth quarter, which will put total promotions at the retailer over 160,000 for the year. Top Wal-Mart executives spent the day traveling to various Wal-Mart locations to personally congratulate some of those who received promotions.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wal-Mart’s announcement of the promotion spree came pre-packaged with a rebuttal for those who would interpret the announcement as a public relations stunt. It’s no secret that Wal-Mart employees and advocacy groups across the nation have ramped up efforts to unionize, increase the minimum wage, and improve working conditions. Such demonstrations have targeted other large employers like McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD), which, like Wal-Mart, has been accused of paying workers a wage that is too low to live on.
“Like most Americans, our associates want good jobs and access to a better life,” commented Wal-Mart U.S. President Bill Simon in the announcement. “Whether you are a cashier in Charlotte, or a stocker in Dallas, or an assistant manager in Los Angeles, Walmart wants to see you succeed.”