Walmart is facing mass employee walkouts this week over low wages, unsafe working conditions and poor benefits.
Walmart's vice president of communications David Tovar defended the company’s wage and labor practices on CNN on Tuesday (video below), which seemed to contradict actual Walmart pay.
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Tovar said: “Our average rate is about $12.40 an hour for a full time associate. We also offer comprehensive benefit packages as low as $17 a pay period, which is very affordable. We also pay quarterly bonuses, which is something that not a lot of retailers do.”
However, CNN host Carol Costello told Tovar that independent research has shown that the average hourly rate of pay at a Walmart store is $8.81 an hour and the average yearly salary for Walmart employees is $15,500, which is $370 above the federal government’s definition of the poverty line, reports RawStory.com and ThinkProgress.org.
Costello said: “Walmart made a whole lot of money last year, billions of dollars, hundreds of billions of dollars. Why not at least negotiate with [employees] so that they can live a better middle-class lifestyle?”
Tovar said that Walmart can’t negotiate with unions because its employees are not unionized, however, he did not mention how Walmart is trying to get the National Labor Relations Board to treat the employees as if they were a union by preventing employees from striking.
Tovar added: “It’s the same people that the unions put up every year, and have been doing it for years. A lot of that is smoke and mirrors, and is not having an impact. In fact, our associates have said to us, ‘Why aren’t we speaking out more?’ Which is why I’m doing shows like yours and others.”