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06/27/2018 | Restoring a Fair Workweek

New Report Explores Walmart’s Phantom Ladder of Opportunity

Walmart drives working conditions in retail. Their size is unparalleled: with 1.5 million American workers, the company is the largest corporate employer and the largest low-wage employer in the country. Walmart employs one out of every 100 private sector employees and one in 10 retail workers. Walmart sets industry standards, profoundly impacting local economies, working people, and their families. When Walmart takes the low road, its bad practices are often mimicked by other retailers. But when Walmart does the right thing and leads by example, the industry also often follows suit.

Walmart claims its promise of a “ladder of opportunity” is a cornerstone of the company’s identity,mission, and vision. Yet no matter how hard hundreds of thousands of Walmart associates work, there is simply no way to climb up. Walmart’s vision for associate advancement is fundamentally incompatible with the company’s policies, particularly its increasing reliance on part-time labor. For Walmart’s more than 500,000 part-time hourly associates, the pathway to build a better life simply does not exist. Walmart associates work hard each day with the hope of getting ahead, but soon face a sobering reality: what the company has promised is actually a phantom ladder of opportunity.

In an effort to better understand the experience of Walmart’s massive workforce, CPD affiliate OUR Walmart, surveyed over 6,000 Walmart associates currently working at the company, representing all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The survey data sheds important light on the crisis of underemployment, low wages, persistent earnings limitations, and lack of opportunities for Walmart associates. Read the full report on our website.