When Walmart acts, so do other businesses. Whether the retail giant is increasing pay for self-serving reasons—to keep employees from seeking better-paying opportunities elsewhere or to thwart labor organizations—makes no difference. A dollar an hour may not seem like much to Food Engineering readers, but it makes a difference to those workers in the trenches.
In my opinion, Walmart’s action signals an official end to the great recession. While the recession may have been over in terms of successive quarters of economic growth, many Americans have maintained their recessionary mindsets and spending habits because their wages have not kept up with rising costs.
While businesses suffered during the recession, workers held onto any job they could keep. But now we are entering a new business reality playing field. If employees at all levels have more opportunities to move to better-paying jobs, it’s a great sign the economy is thriving.
In the coming months, it will be interesting to see how other employers in the food retail and manufacturing sectors will react to Walmart’s announcement. That’s the one thing I love about the food industry—it’s never boring, but constantly challenging and changing.
One final note: I hope to see many of you at Food Engineering’s annual Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo scheduled for April 12-15 in Clearwater Beach, FL. If you can’t make it in person, please join us for select sessions that will be broadcast live via the Internet. Visit www.foodautomationconference.com to view the latest program and speaker updates and to register for free broadcast live sessions.