Back in July, the Washington DC city council passed a law mandating a living-wage of $12.5o an hour, effectively halting Walmart’s proposal of multiple new stores in the District. The Nation magazine joined the push for Walmart to pay its employees a living wage, penning an open letter to the company that cites a report claiming the company pays the average associate $8.81 an hour.
Walmart, however, fought back. On Wednesday morning senior director of communications Steven Restivo sent out an email directed at The Nation with the subject line stating: “people who live in glass houses…”
“The Nation—’America’s leading progressive print and online magazine’—recently encouraged its readers to sign an open letter demanding that Walmart increase wages to $12/hour and this article called our company one of the “biggest abusers of low-wage labor.”
In an ironic twist, ProPublica recently reported that starting this fall, “interns at the Nation Institute will be paid minimum wage for the first time in the history of the 30-year-old program.” As ProPublica noted, The Nation has been paying its full-time interns a weekly stipend of $150 per week—less than the current federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour.”
According to ProPublica, The Nation increased its payment of interns from $150 a week to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour only after a public effort by its interns. Additionally, according to their business editor, the minimum wage that they now pay interns is “not enough to make rent in any state.”
As a result of the wage increases, The Nation has announced that they will have to decrease the number of interns they take on each term from 12 to 10 and the workload for each intern will increase.
But The Nation furiously alleged on Wednesday that Walmart is “desperate,” calling their attacks “a cheap shot.” The magazine also attacked The Daily Beast for reporting on the story.
It seems that The Nation doesn’t plan on retracting their open letter declaring that Walmart should pay its employees $12 an hour.