Though Walmart hasn’t confirmed any Brooklyn openings, they’ve started taking on critics who say their non-union jobs would do harm to the borough’s workforce.
“A majority of national retail is non-union,” Steven Restivo, Walmart’s director of community affairs, told Brooklyn Paper. “When you look at retail and what we offer employees, we’re very competitive to both full-time and part-time workers.” He added that chain stores as Target, Walgreens, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s are all non-union.
An employee at one of Target’s three Brooklyn locations told the paper part-time employees start at $8.50 an hour, comparable to wages earned at a New Jersey Walmart. According to an employee, part-time Walmart employee wages range from $8–$15 per hour, depending on department.
But union reps aren’t buying it. They say Walmart is different than Target because of the larger role it plays in the American business scene. Walmart is the nation’s top retailer in sales, while Target is the fifth largest.
“Walmart may create jobs on the front end, but they erode them later,” Stuart Appelbaum, president of the city’s retail, wholesale and department store union, told the paper. “Union-busting, neighborhood-crushing Walmart forces out good jobs and reliable retailers while bringing down wages and benefits.”