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Walmart Tests Higher Minimum Wage and Flexible Workflow Model in Select Stores

Workers Representations (Photo: Shutterstock)

Walmart is testing a modest increase in minimum wage alongside a new flexible workflow model in a few hundred of its stores. Specifically, in around 500 stores, Walmart has increased the starting hourly pay for team associates—a new role encompassing duties like cashiers, shelf stockers, and deli workers—to $12 from $11.

The company, America’s largest private employer, clarified it has no plans to implement wage hikes across all stores. The new model shifts from a department-specific approach to a more inclusive team-oriented method, assigning more responsibilities to lower-level workers. This restructuring also involves phasing out positions such as assistant manager and customer-service manager, replacing them with roles like academy trainer, team lead, coach, and store lead.

Walmart believes these changes will enhance training and offer broader career advancement opportunities. Drew Holler, Senior Vice President of U.S. People and Associate Experience at Walmart, expressed enthusiasm for the initiative, stating that associates are excited about learning new skills and working in small teams.

The news, first reported by Bloomberg, comes amid ongoing discussions about wage standards. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, also the chairman of the Business Roundtable, previously called the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour “too low” and urged Congress to raise it, a stance highlighted during an annual shareholder meeting where Senator Bernie Sanders criticized Walmart’s wages.

Walmart set its minimum wage at $11 per hour in January 2018, which remains lower than competitors such as Amazon, Target, and Costco, all of which offer higher starting hourly pay. Walmart employs 1.5 million people in the U.S., making its wage policies significant on a national scale.

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