At an annual investor meeting in Tampa, Florida, Walmart announced that they are hoping to replace a large portion of their workforce with automation. The company is aiming to have 65% of its store automated by 2026. The announcement came within days of the retailer disclosing that they would be letting go roughly 2,000 employees who work in online fulfillment jobs.
According to Daily Mail, the company has heavily invested in automation to speed up orders at its e-commerce fulfillment facilities. Walmart’s net worth is $388 billion, and it employs roughly 1.7 million U.S. workers. Company execs have not disclosed a projected time for possible lay-offs but did say automation would lower the companies’ need for low-paid workers.
And while Walmart has arguably the worst customer service of any major U.S. retailer, making cuts to its labor force may be necessary as inflation rates skyrocket under Joe Biden and Democrat-led states push for an increase to the minimum wage.
Michigan’s minimum wage increase was blocked by an appeals court, but had it gone through would have raised the restaurant’s tipped employee rate from $3.84- $11.73 /hr. And as one Twitter user pointed out, the expected job loss was estimated at 50k.
President and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association, Justin Winslow, described the anxiety growing among many restaurant owners, especially those running smaller, independent restaurants who anticipated that Democrats would raise the minimum wage after narrowly winning the House and Senate. He pointed out that the restaurant industry was still recovering from the Covid shutdowns and battling high inflation. Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s tyrannical restaurant shutdowns were difficult on the same small business that would be devastated by a huge increase in the minimum wage. And Joe Biden’s uninformed financial “gifts” to Ukraine and other reckless spending have turned into an inflationary nightmare for poor to moderate-income Americans.
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Walmart did say they hoped to replace lost jobs with higher-paying positions. In a filing, the retailer said,
“As the changes are implemented across the business, one of the outcomes is roles that require less physical labor but have a higher rate of pay. Over time, the company anticipates increased throughput per person due to the automation while maintaining or even increasing its number of associates as new roles are created.”