Originally created 08/08/06

Some to see boost in pay



Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is raising starting pay at about a third of its nearly 4,000 U.S. stores by an average 6 percent and introducing wage caps for the first time on each type of job in all stores, the company said Monday.

The nation's largest private employer said the changes would help it remain competitive with other retailers and meet a need for workers and managers as it continues to expand.

Wal-Mart has more than 1.3 million U.S. employees, which it refers to as associates.

Its pay and benefits have been under fire from union-backed critics who call them skimpy. Wal-Mart has defended its average full-time hourly wage of $10.11 and launched lower-cost health plans this year with premiums as low as $11 month in some areas.

"We've created about 240,000 jobs in the last three years and we are continuing to grow. We need to ensure that we have the most appropriate classification and pay programs to meet our growth needs," Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley said.

The changes help in two ways, Mr. Simley said. Higher starting pay makes Wal-Mart more attractive to new workers, and the wage caps give current associates an incentive to move up to higher positions if they want to make more money.

MORE ON WAL-MART


BEIJING - Employees at two more Wal-Mart stores in China have formed unions, raising the number to four amid efforts by labor officials to have the U.S. retailing giant's 60 Chinese outlets unionized, an official newspaper said Monday.


Employees at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. outlets in the eastern city of Nanjing and in the southern city of Shenzhen voted late Saturday and early Sunday to form unions, the Workers Daily said.


- Associated Press