Walmart Inc said on Monday it has temporarily raised entry wages for workers in its e-commerce warehouses by $2, following similar moves by rivals, as it attempts to manage a shopping surge brought about by the coronavirus outbreak.
“We’re hearing it every day”, said Elizabeth Walker, Walmart Corporate Affairs.
“Restaurants closing, layoffs happening, Americans worrying about how to pay their bills. This unprecedented situation has left many families with a sense of uncertainty. But at Walmart, there are opportunities – 150,000 of them, in fact. The company recently announced they will be hiring 150,000 associates, and these include full-time, part-time and temporary positions in distribution centers (DCs) and fulfillment centers (FCs).”
Walmart said the hike will increase entry wages for workers in e-commerce fulfillment centers or warehouses to between $15 and $19 an hour effective immediately through Memorial Day, a holiday in the United States that falls on May 25 this year.
The world’s largest retailer, which employs 1.5 million people in the United States, has struggled to keep store shelves stocked and fulfill online orders amid panic-buying by shoppers spooked by the outbreak.
Rivals such as Amazon.com Inc and Target Corp have also boosted pay and gone on a hiring spree to manage a surge in orders while many clothing and mall-based retailers have been forced to shut stores.
Target said last week it would raise its minimum wage by $2 an hour for store and distribution center workers through May 2.
Dollar General Corp, which operates more than 15,000 stores in the United States, said on Monday it plans to nearly double its normal hiring rate and add up to 50,000 employees by the end of April.
Walmart officials said on Thursday they had reached out to industry groups representing hotels and restaurants, offering to hire staff who have recently lost their jobs due to the virus-induced slowdown in tourism and catering.
On Monday, the company said new employees can begin work at its facilities in as little as 24 hours after being hired. It is also offering new hires and current workers a $250 cash bonus for each new hire referral after 90 days from the new hire’s start.
“Our supply chain associates have been so vital to Walmart’s ability to serve customers and communities during this time, and I am so proud of every one of them,” said Greg Smith, Walmart’s head of supply chain. “We’re growing, expanding and looking for more people who want to make a difference providing for customers.”
Knowing many people are eager to get back to work, Walmart has expedited hiring to get people working quickly. What does that mean for a person looking for a new opportunity with a thriving company? It means he or she can apply online, get hired and begin working in a DC or FC in as little as 24 hours.”
On Sunday, the retailer said it has set up federal drive-through coronavirus testing sites in the parking lots of two stores in Illinois.