*** UPDATE: U.C. Berkeley Study Comes Under New Scrutiny ***
May 16, 2011
A study relied on by special interests seeking to prevent Walmart from entering New York City has been further discredited after one of its authors admitted that he lacked expertise on its subject matter.
The 2007 study published by University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education came under fire after “Professor” Kenneth Jacobs, one of its authors, appeared at a hearing in South Africa on Walmart’s proposed merger with Massmart. During his appearance, Mr. Jacobs not only acknowledged he is not a professor but also a lack of training or expertise in economics. His admission – “I’m not an economist. My co-author on many of these papers is an economist…” – is relevant since he claims an expertise on the economic impact retail stores like Walmart have on wages. Working alongside an economist is not the same thing as earning a degree in economics.
Mr. Jacobs also admitted that some of his research conclusions were based on newspaper articles. For clarification on where the author founded aspects of his research, Walmart’s special counsel asked, “You read it in the newspapers?” Mr. Jacobs responded, “I did. I read it in the newspapers and I believe I looked into that case as well.” Mr. Jacobs testimony begins on page 461. (PDF)
Following the testimony, Massmart, South Africa’s largest retailer, issued a statement saying the cross-examination of the study’s author “identified various inaccuracies and overstatements that resulted in numerous concessions and retractions.”
Walmart has previously rebutted the distorted claims regarding employee wages in the University of California report.
April 25, 2011
A 2007 study published by University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education discusses living wage standards for Walmart workers and the effect it would have on shoppers. Unfortunately, it neglects to mention that Walmart already offers competitive wages, affordable benefits and opportunities for career advancement and promotion.
In New York City, our wages meet or exceed those offered by a majority of our competitors, including unionized grocery stores. As a matter of fact, our cashiers in North Jersey and Long Island are already starting at a rate at least $1.00 per hour higher than what is offered by unionized grocers for a similar position in New York City.
At the same time, we remain competitive across the state offering an average regular, full-time hourly wage of $13.32 per hour
Additionally, Walmart employees have vast opportunities to advance and grow within the company. Across the country, nearly 75 percent of our store management team began as hourly employees and last year alone, we promoted more than 146,000 hourly associates.
Given these figures, it’s easy to see why workers at other retail and grocery stores want to join the Walmart team. Workers realize that opportunities for career growth are just as important as compensation and benefits. Walmart associates get both – yet another reason why New Yorkers welcome a Walmart store in New York City.