Work is wrapping up at Burnsville's new Walmart store, and hiring is close at hand.
In , the Burnsville City Council gave the retail giant final approval on the project. According to a recent article in Sun Thisweek—"Walmart to Become Major Employer in Burnsville"—the deep discount store is set to open at at 12200 River Ridge Boulevard on Oct. 26. The mammoth chain plans to ramp up hiring on Aug. 20.
Store Manager Sean Brooks told Sun Thisweek that the Burnsville location will generate 350 to 375 jobs, half of which will be full-time positions. The retail giant will also provide additional seasonal employment during the holidays. According to the newspaper, Walmart will be the No. 8 employer in town once fully staffed—outstripping rivals Target and Costco in terms of headcount.
However, wages at Walmart will range from $8 to $15 an hour—which means entry level workers would make less than half the average weekly wage in Burnsville (based on figures from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, circa 2011). Assuming a Walmart employee works 40 hours a week, they can expect to earn $320 to $600 per week. On average, Burnsville workers took home $857 per week in 2011.
Consider also that in Dakota County the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment was about $900 in 2011, which would absorb 37.5 to 70 percent of the Walmart worker's monthly income, depending on where they may fall on the pay scale.
Residents in neighboring communities have met incoming Walmart stores with resistance because of the relatively low pay and downscale reputation. Another prototype stores opening in Lakeville this October prompted a .
"This is absolutely devastating news for Lakeville. Dave Olson should be ashamed of himself for single handedly allowing the worst company in America to enter our community!!!!" one resident wrote on Lakeville Patch when the news broke. "Walmart stores attract criminals, degenerates, traffic and the undesirable crowd that people moved to Lakeville to avoid...Eleven dollars an hour means $22,000 annual wage (and) if you are a full time employee, that is poverty."
The commentor, named Chris, ended by imploring fellow citizens to "rise up and save Lakeville."
Others were happy to see development and job growth of any kind, regardless of the source.
"That area of Lakeville is sort of a wasteland. We've been to Harry's a few times and the movie theater," wrote a commentor named Andrew. "Need something to drive development in that area."