Walmart raises wages for truckers amid shortage

Business

A Gatik truck on its delivery route in Bentonville, Arkansas. (Photo: Business Wire)

(NewsNation) — Walmart is raising wages for its 12,000 truck drivers, with new drivers now able to make  $95,000 to $110,000 in their first year.

This is up from the $87,500 that Walmart has previously said its new truck drivers could make in that time frame. Drivers who have been with Walmart longer can earn even more, the company said in a news release.

The nation’s largest retailer also announced Monday that it is launching a training program for truckers. Called the Private Fleet Development program, it will give Walmart employees working in its distribution or fulfillment centers the opportunity to become a certified truck driver for the company in 12 weeks.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a long-haul driver is a little more than $50,000 a year.

In the release, Walmart senior vice presidents Fernando Cortes and Karisa Sprague said Walmart’s investments in pay and training build on multiple recent driver bonuses and improved schedules that let employees spend more time at home.

These moves come amid a trucker shortage made more severe by the COVID-19 pandemic, when demand to move freight hit historic highs.

America is short about 80,000 drivers, the American Trucking Associations estimates. The trucker shortage has been a factor leading to disruptions in the U.S. supply chain.

Along with individual companies trying to attract people to the industry, there have also been moves to fix the trucker shortage by the federal government. A pilot program to let drivers ages 18-21 transport goods across state lines was passed last year as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Adults 18 and older can already get their Class A trucking license and drive intrastate, but not interstate.

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