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Walmart Answers Your Questions

The following questions come from the comments section on an article about Walmart opening a market in Altadena. The answers come from Wal-Mart's public relations department.

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.

 

Jim Osterling July 10, 2012 at 03:41 PM
The Patch asked compound questions requiring multiple answers to each question. Wal-Mart answered the parts of the questions that they wanted to answer and ignored the part of the question that they did not want to answer. If you broke each questions down into separate simple questions, it will force them to answer each question.
Dena July 10, 2012 at 03:59 PM
LOL - whoever answered those questions is a master of double speak. If you look past all the pretty words, hardly any of the questions were actually answered. Yep, let's trust these people to do the right thing!
carole grant July 10, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I think the bumper sticker should read: we promise low prices, yes, but the real price is very high indeed for your community. and we do NOT answer hard questions, especially when we are entering/invading the community.
bruintracks July 10, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Walmart reported that "as of April 30, 2012, the average wage for REGULAR, FULL-TIME hourly associates in California is $12.79 per hour." What about the part-time associates? We need to see median wages for part-time workers and full-time workers because the data that Walmart currently provides is not sufficient!
Daniel E. Harlow July 10, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Considering they at least provide it, says something. Ask TJs Ralph's etc for this information and you won't get it.
Nancy Richardson July 10, 2012 at 09:10 PM
No Mr. Harlow, that isn't so. TJ's wages are commensurate with the Union Wages and benefits http://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/Trader-Joe-s-Salaries-E5631.htm http://www.careerbliss.com/salary/ralphs-grocery-salaries-1155453/ Walmart is not being truthful about their salaries. http://www.careerleak.com/salaries/walmart/
SteveB July 10, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Nancy, you misunderstand - Walmart itself actually provides that average hourly wage data. TJs and Ralphs do not. The sites you reference rely on people who work at these places to input their own wage info. The Walmart link you provided has as few as 1 salary being reported for many categories. This is not reliable data.
James Knight July 10, 2012 at 09:49 PM
WalMart keeps most employees at part time to avoid paying benefits so any stats for REGULAR FULL TIME employees are irrelevant. UNIONIZE WALMART.
Daniel E. Harlow July 11, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Nancy - Then why won't they disclose this? Call their corporate hotline (which I did) and see what they tell you. Daniel
terry Morris July 12, 2012 at 05:17 AM
CASH MOB- Webster's Stationery July 17th Okay, many folks have expressed frustration that there weren’t enough solutions being presented to make positive change in Altadena, just people trying to stop something that might make a difference. So, here is the first tiny step. On Tuesday July 17th there will be the first of a series of Cash Mobs held throughout Altadena. There will be a weekly cash mob to show our support of Altadena small businesses and to further the discussion of how we can all work together to make our community the best it can be! So, the first cash mob will be at Webster’s Fine Stationers on Lake. Go there at any point in the day, and spend what you can. We can make a difference and revitalize our community! Remember, July 17th !!! Next week, we will move to a store Lincoln Avenue, the week after that, Allen.
Can't Say January 17, 2013 at 04:01 AM
Good Walmart article here. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-moco-walmart-veterans-20130115,0,3835656.story

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