Walmart confirmed Thursday that it is closing 10 percent of its Sam's Club warehouse stores - a move that a union-backed group estimated could cost thousands of jobs - on the same day the company announced that it was boosting its starting salary for USA workers and handing out bonuses.
- Sam's Club's parent company - announced it was raising its starting hourly wages from $9 to $11, giving one-time $1,000 bonuses to hourly employees and expanding its maternity and parental leave benefits.
For the latest breaking news and stories from across the Tri-State, follow Eyewitness News on Facebook and Twitter. Some customer demanded to be refunded for their memberships to the club, which cost from $45 to $100 per year. The company has created a webpage with more information on what members whose stores are now closed can do. Making Change at Walmart, a campaign backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, estimates that 150 to 160 people work at each Sam's Club store, meaning the closures could affect about 10,000 people.
This announcement comes on the heels of so many similar announcements by companies like AT&T and Comcast, claiming that the new tax system allows these companies to give more money to their employees. That store will close January 26th, but no word on what exact dates the other stores will close.
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Sam's Club CEO John Furner explained the reasoning behind the decision in a letter to employees that was made public. Local news outlets across the country - including from Houston, Syracuse, Baton Rouge and Dallas - reported the closures happened without notice.
Sam's Club will shutter 63 of its stores, with customers and some employees saying no warning was given by the company.
A total of four stores in Texas are expected to close. Some said that employees were bewildered when they showed up for work and found out they did not have a job any longer. "They are increasing salaries to over a million American workers". The law, which passed before the New Year, offers companies a drastic tax cut by bringing the corporate rate down to 21% from 35%.
The Sam's Club in Sylmar, one of three locations in Southern California that will permanently close their doors, is offering 25 percent on most products from Friday through at least Sunday. Lots of things are going on in the economy, and we appreciate what Walmart is doing.