Walmart sweetens pay for most U.S. hourly workers on the coasts

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Many Walmart Inc hourly workers will collect bigger paychecks on the U.S. east and west coast markets where the cost of living is higher and competition for labor among retailers is more intense, the company told Reuters on Tuesday.

The world’s biggest retailer also said it has seen a slight increase in job applications for digital and stocking roles, mostly internally. “(This) tells us that we’re becoming more competitive for this type of work,” said Drew Holler, Walmart’s head of people operations.

Walmart said last month that it plans to raise average pay for U.S. hourly workers to at least $15.25 an hour, focusing on digital fulfillment and stocking workers who will receive a starting wage of $13-$19 an hour from March 13, as America’s biggest private employer looks to retain labor to support its fast-growing online business.

“Not everywhere in the nation is the same from a pay perspective … Where we’re competitive is on the coast,” Holler said. “In the middle of the country, to be competitive, it’s a little bit different.”

The “majority” of Walmart’s digital and stocking workers on the east and west coast will be paid a minimum of between $15 and $19 an hour, depending on their role, he said. The company previously said it is raising wages for 425,000 U.S. stocking and digital workers, who fulfill local online and curbside pick-up orders.

A nationwide movement to increase the minimum wage has gathered new momentum with President Biden reiterating his support for a base wage hike.

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