Letter to the Editor: The New York Times "The Corporate Daddy"

By David Tovar
June 24, 2014
William Billups

On Friday, we published a response to the opinion editorial, “The Corporate Daddy,” by The New York Times columnist Timothy Egan. We also submitted a letter to the editor written by Chesterfield, Virginia, store co-manager William Billups. The New York Times has declined to publish it, so I wanted to share it with you here.

TO THE EDITOR:

RE: “The Corporate Daddy” (op-ed June 20): 

I completely disagree with many of the author’s arguments, and Walmart addresses the factual errors on our website. I want to focus on this statement - 'working at Walmart may not make you poor, but it certainly keeps you poor…'

I can tell you firsthand that this is not true.  I started seven years ago as a part-time sales associate and became the first in my family to go to college, thanks to a Walmart scholarship. I’m now getting ready to lead my own multi-million dollar store.  The reality is that Walmart offers opportunity – a ladder up in life.  And it’s not just me.  Here are some facts: Walmart has 15,000-50,000 job openings on any given day and no special background is required. We promote 170,000 people each year and 40% of those promotions go to people in their first year with the company.  75% of our store management teams started as hourly associates, and it may surprise you to learn they earn $50,000 - $250,000 a year. You can think of it like this: it’s easy to get in, it’s easy to move up, and then the sky’s the limit.  If we had space, I could introduce you to hundreds of thousands of hard-working Americans who are building better lives for their families every day at Walmart.

The author is right that the economy is stalled and that the system is not working for many people, but we're proud to be a place where you can go as far as your hard work and talents will take you.  That’s often called the American dream. I know because I’ve lived it.

William Billups
Co-Manager, Chesterfield, Virginia