To the Editor…

by on June 17, 2013

Steven Restivo (Walmart Senior Director) Response to Professor Logan’s piece, “Why California Taxpayers Should Support the Wal-Mart Strikers”

John Logan’s recent opinion regarding Walmart grossly misrepresents the facts. As an educator, the professor is expected to form an argument based on confirmed facts rather than recycled, special-interest talking points and flawed, labor-funded studies. Beyond Chron readers deserve more and they deserve the truth. For example, the worker “strikes” that the Professor wants to promote in these pages are made up almost entirely of representatives from organized labor. The hype leading up to these publicity stunts almost always exceeds the reality on the ground. This was certainly the case at June 7 “strikes” in Sacramento, Fresno, Clovis, Rialto, Modesto and LA. Also, on the issue of public assistance programs, there is zero evidence to support the professor’s claims regarding our associates and the use of food stamps, subsidized housing and child-care, and government health insurance for low-income individuals. Not only are the charges inaccurate, they are insulting.

I guess he feels justified using a recent “report” by the Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce. The document makes vast generalizations based on data from a single state – Wisconsin – and even admits the weakness in its own methodology, stating that “extrapolating taxpayer costs for Wal-Mart stores in other states based on the Wisconsin data is difficult” because Wisconsin has extremely inclusive Medicaid eligibility requirements. The report entirely relies on what has been called an “unlikely scenario” to arrive at its top line conclusion.

In fact, Walmart provides more than 1 million associates and their families with health care plans that provide access to affordable, comprehensive medical coverage. An annual report on average U.S. health care costs from the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) 2012 Employer Health Benefits Survey confirmed that Walmart’s 2012 health care premiums were below the national average.

Here are a few more facts for the Professor to consider:
• More than 75,000 people choose to work for Walmart in California;
• Our state workforce is mostly full-time;
• Our average hourly full-time wage here is $12.99/hour as of April 30, 2013;
• About 75 percent of Walmart store management teams started as hourly associates, and they earn between $50,000 and $250,000 a year;
• Every year, Walmart promotes about 170,000 people to jobs with more responsibility and higher pay;
• Our benefit plans meet the eligibility and affordability requirements of the Affordable Care Act; and
• Our company’s lowest medical plan is available for about $17 per pay period.

I’d welcome the opportunity to educate Professor Logan on the facts about our company and connect him with one of our many California associates who choose to work at Walmart.

We’re proud of the opportunities we create and the contributions we make.

Filed under: Letters to the Editor