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Walmart Inc. (WMT)

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139.78-0.02 (-0.01%)
At close: 4:00PM EDT
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Previous close139.80
Bid139.50 x 800
Ask139.65 x 800
Day's range138.71 - 140.09
52-week range117.01 - 153.66
Avg. volume9,506,341
Market cap393.77B
Beta (5Y monthly)0.48
PE ratio (TTM)29.43
EPS (TTM)4.75
Earnings date18 May 2021
Forward dividend & yield2.20 (1.57%)
Ex-dividend date06 May 2021
1y target est159.38
  • What Amazon Can Learn from a Bruising Victory in Bessemer, Alabama

    What Amazon Can Learn from a Bruising Victory in Bessemer, Alabama

    (Bloomberg) -- Inc. always had the upper hand in its high-profile battle with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union over its fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama. It had the deeper pockets, of course, and with mandatory workplace “information sessions,” could slyly proselytize on the shop floor against the union and the financial burdens of membership. Beyond that, Amazon also enjoyed a stark economic calculus. Three years ago, the Bessemer region wooed Amazon with an incentive package worth an estimated $51 million, one of the largest financial enticements the company has ever received to open a warehouse. At around the same time, the nearby city of Birmingham constructed three giant faux-Amazon cardboard boxes around town, part of an unsuccessful promotional stunt to try to lure Amazon’s second headquarters to the city. Like a lot of other states, Alabama wanted Amazon and its jobs in a time of widespread economic anxiety. Employees seemed to get that voting for a union and thumbing their collective noses at Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos would have interfered with that objective. Out of more than 3,000 ballots cast by mail, 1,798 rejected the union. The RWDSU plans to appeal the vote and has alleged that Amazon coerced workers into voting ‘no’ through a variety of illegal means, such as forcing the post office to put a mailbox outside the facility to collect votes—a suspected intimidation tactic. For its part, Amazon seemed interested in putting the saga behind it and moving on. But before it comfortably retires with its victory, Amazon will likely stop to carefully consider the Bessemer saga. Though it won decisively, the battle was unusually bruising, and the public is likely to remember the entire ordeal mainly for Amazon’s ham-fisted responses to criticism from U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and the accusation that the company’s drivers often have to relieve themselves in bottles while on the road. To avoid running headlong into the next battle in an escalating war with a resurgent organized labor movement that is backed by the U.S. president, Amazon probably needs to act on a few important lessons.The first is to listen more carefully to employees. Amazon, of course, would publicly vow that already it does so, religiously; but it didn’t instill much faith when it denied that its drivers were forced to use bottles along their routes, then apologized for the tweet a few days later and acknowledged it was a problem. During the union fight, Amazon employees told other harrowing stories; about being ordered into mandatory overtime without much forewarning or explanation; long walks to the breakroom or bathroom that eat into their two, half-hour breaks in a 10-hour shift; and the physical toll that comes from standing on their feet for a whole workday.Bessemer employees who voted against the union say they plan to ensure the company listens to these complaints. “We already have a seat at the table, and we are talking to senior management about things we want to change,” said Will Stokes, an Amazon worker that the company made available in a Zoom press conference on Friday after the vote counting was completed. “Give us the next 100 days and let’s see what happens.”Amazon will also have to address concerns that the fight in Bessemer indicated a larger problem in its relationship with Black workers. In the late 1990s, Amazon opened a fulfillment center in McDonough, Georgia, another predominantly Black town 30 miles (48 km) south of Atlanta, then went through several management changes and ultimately closed the warehouse a few years later, at a time when it desperately needed more fulfillment capacity. The company never offered an explanation.Other examples of labor unrest in Amazon’s network have also involved Black employees. In 2018, a large Somali immigrant workforce at a fulfillment center in Minneapolis attempted to negotiate collectively with the company; last year, Black employees in Staten Island called for unionization after highlighting what they believed were safety shortcomings during the pandemic. A recent Vox story also highlighted reports of bias and disrespect against Black workers in Amazon’s white-collar workforce. In the Zoom press conference, another employee, Lavonette Stokes, called for greater “sensitivity and unconscious bias training” for managers.Finally, Amazon might have to reconsider the transitory nature of work in its fulfillment centers. The company trumpets its $15 hourly wage, which is about the national median for “hand laborers and material movers,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—as well as the prospect of 55-cent per-hour raises every six months. But what’s not as commonly known is that these raises stop after an employee reaches three years of service, unless he or she is promoted. The ceiling is deliberate: Amazon wants employees either to matriculate into management or leave the company for opportunities elsewhere. It even pays employees thousand-dollar bonuses if they quit, calculating that if they accept the offer, they were unengaged in their work to begin with and better off elsewhere. In Bessemer, for the first time, the union highlighted this issue. “The 5,800 employees here will possibly be making a little under $17 an hour if they work 10, 20 years from now,” said Jennifer Bates, one of the warehouse’s labor organizers, in an interview with Rolling Stone, and you can be sure this issue will come up in future fights. Amazon might have its own reasons to reconsider limiting raises. Amazon employs more than a million people—it’s the country’s second largest private employer, after Walmart Inc. Amid potentially declining unemployment numbers as the pandemic ends, pushing workers out the door may no longer be viable. Ironically, the company might be in a tight spot on this issue. The union can rightfully complain about the transitory nature of work in an Amazon fulfillment center. But if Amazon changes its approach and seeks to retain workers after three years, a tenured workforce will almost certainly give organized labor a more promising target. That could mean more divisive union elections in Amazon’s future.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Motley Fool

    McDonald's to Close Hundreds of Stores in Walmart Locations

    Many people shifted from in-person dining to takeout and delivery once the outbreak hit, which led to robust lines at the drive-thru and plenty of revenue for major players in the fast food space, like McDonald's (NYSE: MCD). Specifically, it intends to close hundreds of its restaurants located inside Walmart (NYSE: WMT) stores. Big-box retailers like Walmart have increasingly evolved into mini-malls, and the presence of in-store restaurants has historically been a draw for customers.

  • Amazon Wins Union Election in Setback to Labor Movement

    Amazon Wins Union Election in Setback to Labor Movement

    (Bloomberg) -- Inc. workers at an Alabama warehouse voted not to join a retail union, a setback for labor organizers and a significant victory for the world’s largest online retailer.The election wasn’t close. Of the more than 3,000 ballots cast, Amazon garnered 1,798 nos and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union won 738 yeses. While federal officials set aside 505 contested ballots -- most of them disputed by Amazon, according to the union-- there weren’t enough of those to change the result. The National Labor Relations Board, which oversees workplace union elections, began counting ballots on Thursday.The union always faced a stiff challenge in Bessemer, Alabama, where Amazon’s $15-an-hour starting wage goes a lot further than it does in New York or San Francisco. The pandemic also precluded the RWDSU from holding large rallies. Amazon, meanwhile, had several advantages, not least that it could appeal directly to workers during mandatory “information sessions,” where company managers argued that a union wouldn’t necessarily improve their wages and benefits. Looming over the entire campaign was the implicit threat that Amazon could simply close the Bessemer warehouse.“The result is a reflection of just how hard it is for workers to organize in workplaces where employers are free to bombard them with anti-union messages and sow fear and doubt throughout the work day,” said Rebecca Givan, an associate professor at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations. “Current labor law makes these attempts to win a voice on the job very very difficult.”Even before the vote count had finished, the RWDSU pledged to contest the result and accused Amazon of various election violations, including the installation of a mailbox outside the facility in Bessemer, which the RWDSU said the company requested so it could watch employees submitting their mail-in ballots. The company has rejected that accusation, saying it simply had the mailbox installed to make it easier for workers to participate in the election.Should the union win an appeal, the NLRB can throw out the election results and call a new vote.The union’s defeat, if upheld, could demoralize labor activists and potentially curb stirrings of labor activism at Amazon’s other facilities. The loss is sure to redouble calls from the broader labor movement to overhaul federal labor laws governing union organizing, a goal that’s supported by the Biden administration but has eluded organized labor for decades.“Our labor laws basically incentivize employers like Amazon and Walmart and small ones to break the law to prevent their workers from forming unions,” Andy Levin, a Michigan Democrat who joined a delegation to Bessemer last month, said Friday on Bloomberg Television. “And that’s what happened.”The outcome followed a hard-fought election that lasted seven weeks, attracted national attention and saw the union and Amazon engage in an information war that sometimes veered into conspiracy theories. In the campaign’s final days, a Twitter feud broke out between the company and such critics as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.Amazon thanked its employees in Bessemer for participating in the election but quickly pivoted to pushing back on the union’s accusations about unfair practices during the campaign. “It’s easy to predict the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that’s not true,” the company said in a statement. “Our employees heard far more anti-Amazon messages from the union, policymakers and media outlets than they heard from us.” Still, workers at the facility were sharply divided and remained so after the result.”I think it’s a mistake,” said one yes voter, who requested anonymity to speak freely. “But you can’t tell these kids around here anything, $15 an hour is the most they have ever made.”He attributed the loss in part to Amazon’s effort to sway voters. “All of their info came from Amazon’s ‘vote no’ campaign,” the worker said of colleagues at the facility. “They fed them misinformation.”Roderick Crocton, who has been working at the facility for a year, said he wasn’t surprised his colleagues rejected the union. The 24-year-old said the pay and benefits were much better than at his previous job at Walmart Inc., where he earned less than $12 an hour and didn’t have health insurance after two years.“It’s really not bad at Amazon,” Crocton said. “Everybody is just ready for it to be over. It’s just annoying to keep hearing about it and see the signs. We’re ready to get back to going in there and getting the packages out.”The Bessemer fulfillment center opened about a year ago, the first such Amazon facility in Alabama and one of hundreds the company has opened around the U.S. to facilitate speedy shipping. The facility was a big deal for a once-thriving steel town that began shedding manufacturing jobs in the 1970s and 1980s. For many Bessemer residents, Amazon’s arrival was affirmation that their town had finally entered the 21st century. Yes, the jobs were arduous, but many residents focused on the $15-an-hour starting wage and health benefits.Amazon, instantly Bessemer’s largest employer, had no trouble filling the jobs. Still, some workers found the work pace arduous or fretted about catching Covid-19, which had started spreading around the U.S. and infected dozens of Amazon workers elsewhere.It’s unusual for labor activism to emerge so quickly at an Amazon warehouse because turnover is high and it typically takes time for workers’ initial enthusiasm to curdle into disenchantment. RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum has said the mostly African-American workforce at the Bessemer facility was partly inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests and the growing acceptance that systemic racism has hurt the economic prospects of people of color.Whatever happens next, the election in Bessemer will be long remembered as a landmark event in Jeff Bezos’s long battle with American unions.(Updates with Amazon statement in tenth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.