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Labor Center Reports on Retail

Living Wage Policies and Big-Box Retail Living Wage Policies and Big-Box Retail: How a Higher Wage Standard Would Impact Walmart Workers and Shoppers
April 2011, by Ken Jacobs, Dave Graham-Squire and Stephanie Luce
» Research Brief PDF
» Press Release PDF
» Press Coverage

This study uses the most recent data available to update the 2007 report on the impact to workers and shoppers if Walmart increased its minimum wage. It finds that a $12 per hour minimum wage would provide substantial benefits to Walmart workers in low-income families, while the costs would be dispersed in small amounts among many consumers across the income spectrum.


Living Wage Policies and Wal-Mart Living Wage Policies and Wal-Mart: How a Higher Wage Standard Would Impact Wal-Mart Workers and Shoppers
December 2007, by Arindrajit Dube, Dave Graham-Squire, Ken Jacobs and Stephanie Luce
» Research Brief PDF
» Press Release PDF
» Press Coverage

This study analyzes what the impact on Wal-Mart workers and shoppers would be if the retailer increased its minimum wage to $10 per hour. It finds that a $10 per hour minimum wage would provide significant, concentrated benefits to Wal-Mart workers, the majority in low-income families, while the costs would be dispersed in small amounts among many consumers across the income spectrum.

A Downward Push A Downward Push: The Impact of Wal-Mart Stores on Retail Wages and Benefits
December 2007, by Arindrajit Dube, T William Lester and Barry Eidlin
» Research Brief PDF
» Press Coverage

This study finds that Wal-Mart store openings lead to the replacement of better paying jobs with jobs that pay less and are less likely to provide health benefits. Wal-Mart’s entry also drives wages and benefits down for workers in competing industry segments such as grocery stores.


Impact of Health Benefit Reductions in the Unionized Grocery Sector in California Impact of Health Benefit Reductions in the Unionized Grocery Sector in California
August 2007, by Arindrajit Dube and Ken Jacobs
» Preliminary Findings PDF
» Powerpoint Presentation PDF
» Press Coverage

Analyzes the impact of changes in grocery worker labor contracts on healthcare coverage and utilization.


Firm Entry and Wages ReportFirm Entry and Wages: Impact of Wal-Mart Growth on Earnings Throughout the Retail Sector
August 2007, by Arindrajit Dube, William T. Lester and Barry Eidlin
» Report

This paper estimates the effect of Wal-Mart expansion on wages, benefits and skill-composition of retail workers during the 1990s. Estimates from state and county level data suggest that store openings reduced both the average earnings and health benefits of retail workers.


Declining Health Coverage in the Southern California Grocery IndustryDeclining Health Coverage in the Southern California Grocery Industry
January 2007, by Ken Jacobs, Arindrajit Dube and Felix Su
» Summary Findings
» Powerpoint Presentation
» Press Coverage

These summary findings assess the effects of a new contract for grocery workers in Southern California in March 2004 that significantly restructured health insurance coverage. The research draws on United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) actuarial and membership data and union survey responses to document the impact of benefits changes on health coverage and utilization in both Southern and Northern California. It concludes that the contract changes have dramatically reduced health coverage in the grocery industry in the Southern half of the state, diminished the rate of health care utilization, and exacerbated the annual turnover rate for grocery workers in Los Angeles.


Wal-Mart and Job Quality Wal-Mart and Job Quality—What Do We Know, and Should We Care?
October 2005, by Arindrajit Dube and Steve Wertheim
» Report

This report addresses a range of issues surrounding worker earnings and health benefits at Wal-Mart stores. Comparing the company’s wages and employee benefits spending against the US retail and grocery sectors as a whole, the authors find that Wal-Mart is significantly below the sector averages on both measures. The research also reveals that the earnings of US retail workers have suffered due to Wal-Mart’s market presence. Finally, the authors consider the possibility of raising Wal-Mart’s employee compensation, and the effects this might have upon the prices of Wal-Mart goods.


Internal Wal-Mart Memo Validates Findings of UC Berkeley Study
October 2005, by Arindrajit Dube, Ken Jacobs and Steve Wertheim
» Memo PDF

The Labor Center’s report, Hidden Cost of Wal-Mart Jobs, PDF found that Wal-Mart workers disproportionately rely on taxpayer funded public health programs in California compared to workers in large retail as a whole. An internal Wal-Mart memo reported on in The New York Times provides data from Wal-Mart validates the basic findings of that UC Berkeley report. This research note highlights this confirming evidence, focusing on workers’ and dependent children’s health coverage.


Hidden Cost of Wal-Mart Jobs: Use of Safety Net Programs by Wal-Mart Workers in California Hidden Cost of Wal-Mart Jobs: Use of Safety Net Programs by Wal-Mart Workers in California
August 2004, by Arindrajit Dube and Ken Jacobs
» Report
» Authors' Response to Wal-Mart's Statements
» Press Coverage

This widely publicized report finds Wal-Mart’s wage and health benefits packages for its California workers to be below average as compared to the overall retail sector in California. The authors also find a greater reliance upon public assistance programs among Wal-Mart workers as compared to other California retail workers. Finally, the authors estimate the additional costs to taxpayers of “Wal-Martization”—the adoption of Wal-Mart’s wage and health benefits standards by retailers throughout California.


Wage and Health Benefit Restructuring in California's Grocery Industry: Public Costs and Policy Implications
July 2004, by Arindarjit Dube and Alex Lantsberg
» Report
» Summary

This study analyzes the 2004 labor agreement between southern California grocers and employees, and examines the implications for grocery workers statewide as well. The authors predict that the agreement will result in the loss of employer-sponsored health insurance for one-third to one-half of the sector’s employees. The ensuing shift to public health care plans and emergency room care will translate to greatly increased costs to taxpayers, effectively transferring the burden from employers to the public. The authors conclude with policy solutions to this looming problem.


The Hidden Public Costs of Low-Wage Jobs in California The Hidden Public Costs of Low-Wage Jobs in California
November 2004, by Carol Zabin, Arindrajit Dube and Ken Jacobs, The State of California Labor 2004, University of California Institute for Labor and Employment. Paper 01.
» Report
» Summary
» Press Coverage

This report highlights the considerable number of working families in California’s public assistance programs, providing demographic and employment profiles of the families. The authors simulate various policy changes—including wage floors and universal employer-sponsored health insurance—and calculate the reductions in public assistance program costs flowing from the decreased reliance upon the programs. Finally, the authors survey policies and economic development strategies designed to alleviate the problem of low-wage employment.


 
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