Lawmaker calls on Target to follow Walmart’s lead, raise workers’ wages

Rep. Joe Atkins

Rep. Joe Atkins

After relentless pressure from workers and the community, Walmart announced last month it will raise minimum pay for its workers to $9 an hour in April and $10 an hour by February 2016.

Now, one Minnesota lawmaker is calling on Minneapolis-based Target to follow Walmart’s lead.

Rep. Joe Atkins, lead DFLer on the Minnesota House Commerce Committee, issued a statement today urging Target to include a commitment to raising wages to $10 per hour in its announcement of fourth-quarter earnings tomorrow.

Wal-Mart’s announcement that it will be increasing its lowest employee wage to $10 per hour is not only welcome news for Wal-Mart employees, but good for business at Wal-Mart, good for the retail industry generally, and good for the State of Minnesota.

Atkins, who represents House District 52B in the southeast Metro, cited research by MIT professor Zeynep Ton, an expert on the retail sector, who found that businesses that make an investment in their retail workforce find that well-paid, knowledgeable, and experienced employees are a sales driver. Atkins also pointed to high-wage retailer Costco, where sales per employee are double that of low-wage rivals.

“It may seem counterintuitive, but retailers that pay higher wages make more money. Overwhelming evidence shows paying higher wages in the retail sector results in higher sales and higher productivity.”

Walmart’s decision to raise its minimum wage will benefit 500,000 hourly associates nationwide. It’s a reaction to a steady wave of organizing among Walmart associates, including strikes in more than 100 cities last year, the United Food and Commercial Workers union said.

“This is not an act of corporate benevolence,” UFCW President Marc Perrone said. “It would not have been possible without the courage of countless workers who are standing together, taking risks, and demanding wages and schedules that can support their families. Walmart is responding directly to calls from workers and their allies to pay a living wage.”


  1. […] parent company of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls yesterday announced it would copy Walmart’s decision to raise minimum hourly wages for U.S. workers to $9 per hour by June. But a Twin Cities-based worker center cast doubt on whether the change […]

  2. […] looked to pressure Target into following the lead of its primary competitor, Walmart, which announced plans last month to raise its workers’ wages to a $10 minimum by next […]

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