Wal-Mart: The Living Wage
By 2017, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Wal-Mart) had shaped purchasing power for more than a million U.S. workers. Wal-Mart's economic muscle was so profound that one could assume that the corporation's wage policies had had a significant impact on the struggle for a living wage in the United States-but did this assumption have any merit? Wal-Mart had set the benchmark for low-cost retail labour practices. Understanding how Wal-Mart set the agenda with wages invited the investigation of a few pertinent questions: What socio-economic forces were in play and what was the environmental context that shaped Wal-Mart's approach to managing its labour force? What were Wal-Mart's wage-related practices, and how did the hourly rate paid to workers by the corporation affect prevailing wage rates? Finally, what were the benefits for Wal-Mart if it pursued a progressive wage rate agenda related to a living wage, and what were the disadvantages if it did not? Robert Eames is affiliated with Westminster College, Missouri.