It’s important to highlight the people who put their bodies on the line in front of Walmart stores around the country over the years to get the company to take this incremental step. Conservative pundits are spinning the Walmart move as a evidence that the free market will get corporations to do the right thing. Actually, the stock market gave the move a harsh negative judgement, with Walmart stock prices dropping 3 percent.
That kind of verdict is a powerful motivator to CEOs to run their businesses just as Walmart has – pay wages so low that full-time workers have to apply for food assistance and other aid, make hours so limited that workers need a second job, but make just-in-time shifts so unpredictable that workers can’t schedule that second job – or much else. It’s a business practice that has given the Walton family that controls Walmart a fortune equal to the wealth held by the bottom 42 percent of Americans, wealth accumulation made possible only by the impoverishment of literally millions of rank-and-file workers – not just those who work for Walmart directly but the millions of others who have lost their jobs or had their wages reduced because of predatory business practices that killed off competitors or pushed supply chains off our shores and into low-wage countries overseas.