More than 1 million Walmart workers will benefit from bonuses and pay raises

Walmart on Thursday said it will raise entry-level wages for US hourly employees to $11 an hour in February as it benefits from last month's major corporate tax cut and on the same day said it will shut stores and lay off thousands of workers.

Walmart raised its minimum wage to $9 an hour in 2015.

"Today, we are building on investments we've been making in associates, in their wages and skills development", said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO.

Walmart isn't the first company to shower a nice public thank you on the GOP tax plan.

The telecom giant said on December 20, 2017 - the day Congress passed the tax bill - that it would give 200,000 USA employees a $1,000 holiday bonus. Back in October, before the tax reform bill passed, Target raised its wages to $11 an hour and committed to paying its workers $15 by 2020. President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans have argued that the corporate tax cut will benefit workers and lead to more investment by USA companies.

Walmart confirmed Thursday that it is closing dozens of Sam's Club warehouse stores across the country - a move that seems sure to cost jobs - on the same day it announced that it was boosting its starting salary for us workers and handing out one-time bonuses to others. "There was this advocacy group called the RATE Coalition that has for many years been lobbying and advocating for a significant reduction in the corporate tax rate". (How much workers will benefit overall is another issue.) But the tax overhaul can't hog all the credit.

It did not disclose how many people would lose their jobs, but said some workers may be placed at other Walmart locations. This rate, which remained constant during the last three months of 2017 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, marks the lowest unemployment rate within the last 10 years.

"A lot of raises are coming", Alan Cole, formerly an economist at the Tax Foundation said on Twitter.

American corporations are chipper about tax reform. Walmart officials said its employees will determine which associates qualify for the cash bonuses before February, "and payments will be paid as quickly as practical thereafter". Prior to the 2017 increase, Target's last substantial wage increase occurred in 2016, when the company boosted starting rates to $10 an hour. That assessment will be done not only through the lens of associates, customers and shareholders, but also within Walmart's financial framework of strong, efficient growth, consistent operating discipline and strategic capital allocation.

"The raise to $11 an hour is heartening, but it's still not a family sustainable wage", said Bob Garrett, president, CEO of the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce, Thursday. "Companies were already raising wages even before the tax cut passed in response to a tight labor market, grassroots pressure from groups like the Fight for $15, and the rush of minimum wage hikes from California to NY".

Business is also good.

"The fact is that Walmart is not permanently investing the estimated $2 billion it will receive annually from Trump's tax giveaway to its workers - it is keeping nearly all of it, " Randy Parraz, director of Making Change at Walmart, a campaign run by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, said in a statement. It's also worth putting those actual benefits in context. "Walmart is doing everything they can to become a benefactor of that".

Eleven dollars an hour equals about $19,000 a year for 34-hour weeks, which Walmart considers full time. The federal poverty level for a family of four is about $24,600, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. "The one-time bonus I'll be getting won't help me long term".

The one time bonus for Walmart's hourly associates - including part-time workers - can range up to $1,000 for employees with at least 20 years at the company.

And it's not all rosy news for the company's employees.

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