When Wal-Mart first announced that it would be opening a market in Altadena, we that the corporation's public relations department would be willing to answer direct questions put to it by readers on the site.
We took questions that were left in the comments section in that post and sent them directly to Wal-Mart. There were a few very similar questions (specifically on wages and local hiring) where we passed along just one since the answers would be redundant.
Below are the answers, or most of them- we're still waiting for the answer to one more reader question about how many store employees would qualify for benefits (we'll pass along the answer if we get it).
The answers to the questions come from Steven Restivo, a senior public affairs director at Wal-Mart.
Q: How specifically for Altadena is Walmart "focused on serving our residents, and bringing solutions to the table such as providing jobs, community investment, and making sure we are working in partnership to create opportunities"?
A: We’re proud of the contributions we make in communities across Southern California - from creating jobs and generating tax revenue to helping customers save and contributing to local non-profits – and look forward to continuing the conversation with the northwest Pasadena community about our plans in Altadena. For example, our new Walmart Neighborhood Market will revitalize an empty building, employ about 60 people and serve as a new option for fresh, affordable food. What’s more, last year alone we gave more than $33 million in cash and in-kind gifts to communities throughout California, supporting non-profits like food banks, job development organizations, veterans groups, and educational programs. In addition to national and state giving programs, Walmart stores are able to support the needs of their local communities by providing funding to organizations working to improve the lives of our associates, customers and neighbors. We expect to have a similar positive impact here in Altadena.
Q: Why has Walmart been so clandestine and secretive?
A: We just recently finalized certain project issues with the property owner and over the past few weeks have engaged with the community to listen, answer questions and work towards ways our store can be part of the solution. We look forward to a continued dialogue. After all, we find that the more residents learn facts about Walmart, the more they see the value in bringing a store to their community.
Q: How long is the term Wal-Mart's lease at the new location?
A: Like most other businesses, we do not disclose lease terms. However, we are committed to being a good corporate neighbor in Altadena for years and years to come.
Q: Will the store apply for a liquor license?
A: We do not have plans to apply for a liquor license at this time.
Q: Will Wal-Mart commit to hiring a certain percentage of employees from the local community ("local" meaning no more than 5 miles)? If so, what's the minimum percentage to which they agree to be held?
A: In most of our Southern California stores, the majority of our associates are local. We place an emphasis on hiring from the community and expect our process in Altadena to be similar to our experience in other communities throughout the region.
Q: Wal-Mart's fact sheet shows California employees make on average $12.79 per hour -- is that an average of all wages paid to all California Wal-Mart employees, including middle and upper management or is that only the employees who work in a Wal-Mart store?
A: We’re proud of our jobs. They’re some of the best jobs in the retail industry – competitive pay, good benefits and the opportunity to build a career. Our full-time average hourly wage figures are public information in every state where we do business and those figures DO NOT include members of management. Here are few other facts about our benefits:
- Last year, we promoted more than 161,000 U.S. hourly associates;
- More than 300,000 of our U.S. associates have been with the company for more than 10 years;
- We have more than one million people on our health plans;
- Comprehensive coverage is available for just $15 per pay period.
- Additional highlights about our benefits:
- First dollar coverage medical plans with no lifetime maximum and low premiums
- A 401(k) Plan with a dollar for dollar match up to 6 percent of annual pay
- A 10 percent discount on most products throughout our stores
- Maternity wellness, including a coach from the Walmart's Life with Baby maternity benefit
Q: How many of the jobs at the Altadena Walmart Neighborhood Market will work 30 hours per week or more?
A:The approximately 60 associates who work in the Altadena store will be a mix of full and part time positions. Once we start the hiring process, we’ll review applicants for jobs like store management, pharmacy, human resources, customer service, cashiers and sales associates.
Q: As part of their planned construction work on the site, what's the minimum percentage of local hire/sourcing Wal-Mart is willing to commit to?
A: Our construction partner is based in LA County and we expect the project will create 75-100 temporary construction jobs.