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Letter to Mayor Vincent Gray

July 17, 2013

Mayor Vincent Gray
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 316
Washington, D.C. 20004

Dear Mayor Gray:

As you gather the relevant information for your decision on the Large Retailer Accountability Act (passed by the D.C. Council which would require big box stores pay a $12.50 (minus benefits) minimum wage) please consider one reply to Walmart’s arrogant assertion of its indispensability in certain areas of the District of Columbia. I refer to the services offered by the National Cooperative Bank (NCB) which we pressed through Congress in 1978.

The NCB’s mission is to offer loans and technical assistance to start consumer cooperatives. Indeed the NCB is committed to serving low-income communities and has helped build retail and housing cooperatives in underserved areas.

Over the years, the NCB’s supply of loan capacity and technical assistance has not been tapped as fully as is possible – in part because few city officials around the country have heard of its mission and its unique availability. The NCB’s offices are at 2001 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 625. It is worthwhile for you and/or your staff to visit their staff and determine what the NCB could do to help create modern retail cooperatives in the District.

I am sure that Charles E. Snyder the president of the NCB would be delighted to see you and discuss possibilities in the areas that the bullying Walmart is threatening to withdraw from unless the D.C. government surrenders to an unreasonable corporate ultimatum. With another announced $15 billion Walmart stock buyback over three years (enough to give $7000 each year to each of its associates) and with Walmart’s CEO, Mike Duke, making $11,000 an hour or nearly $200 a minute, Walmart’s lord of the manor attitude is […]

By |July 18th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Letter to Mayor Vincent Gray

Letter to Walmart President and CEO

Michael Terry Duke
President and CEO, Walmart Stores, Inc.
Walmart Home Office
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, Arkansas 72716-8611

July 15, 2013

Dear Mr. Duke,

In early June, the Wall Street Journal reported that Walmart had announced at its annual shareholder meeting a plan to buy back $15 billion of its stock. Bloomberg reported recently that in the previous four fiscal years, Walmart has bought back $36 billion of its stock.

Assuming Walmart buys back its stock at a similar pace as what it has done over the past four years, you will have bought back a total of $51 billion in 5 years and 8 months. That is an average of $9 billion of stock bought back per year. By the time the current buyback plan is completed, will this really have been the best use of about $51 billion?

According to your website, Walmart employs about 1.3 million ‘associates’ in the United States alone. Instead of spending this huge amount of money on buying back stock, had you chosen to use this money to pay your low-wage hourly workers a more respectable wage, you could have given each one of your 1.3 million U.S. associates an annual raise of nearly $7,000. Assuming, conservatively1, that each of these associates work 52 40-hour work weeks per year, this would amount to a raise of over $3.30 per hour. This would give each and every one of your employees a raise to the minimum wage floor of $10.50 per hour I have asked you in previous letters to consider for your workers.

Instead of focusing these billions of dollars solely on a buyback program to enrich your shareholders, including the immensely wealthy Walton family which owns over 50 % of company stock, you should give […]

By |July 15th, 2013|Press|Comments Off on Letter to Walmart President and CEO

Nader Urges Walmart to Spend $15 Billion Stock Buyback on Raising Its Employees’ Wages, Instead of Enriching Its Shareholders

If Walmart Used Money It Has Set Aside for Stock Buyback on Workers, Each Walmart Employee in the U.S. Could Receive a $7,000 Annual Raise and Bring Home At Least $10.50 Per Hour

For more information contact:
Ralph Nader or Jeff Musto

July 15, 2013

On Monday, Ralph Nader sent a letter to Walmart President and CEO, Mike Duke, urging him to reconsider the company’s planned $15 billion stock buyback. Nader pointed out that, instead of spending $15 billion on a stock buyback, Walmart could use that money to give its 1.3 million U.S. employees a raise.

Low-wage workers are making less, inflation adjusted, today than they did 45 years ago in 1968 when the minimum wage was the equivalent of about $10.70 per hour. In that time, the federal minimum wage has lost nearly one third of its value, standing at $7.25 per hour today.

Referring to the announced $15 billion stock buyback, Nader wrote, “Had you chosen to use this money to pay your low-wage hourly workers a more respectable wage, you could have given each one of your 1.3 million U.S. associates an annual raise of nearly $7,000.”

A $7,000 annual raise amounts to an hourly raise for each employee of at least $3.30 per hour, which would guarantee every one of Walmart’s employees a minimum wage floor of $10.50 per hour. This would match the federal minimum wage that Nader has been calling on Congress and the President to support, and catch these employees up with what they would have made in 1968, adjusted for inflation.

“Instead of focusing these billions of dollars solely on a buyback program to enrich your shareholders, including the immensely wealthy Walton family which owns over 50 % of company stock, you should give […]

By |July 15th, 2013|Press|Comments Off on Nader Urges Walmart to Spend $15 Billion Stock Buyback on Raising Its Employees’ Wages, Instead of Enriching Its Shareholders

Wal-Mart calls D.C. Council’s ‘living wage’ bill a bait-and-switch tactic : The Washington Post

Over more than a decade, three D.C. mayors flew around the country, sweet-talking Wal-Mart executives, trying to lure the nation’s largest retailer to the District with delectable data about the city’s demographic transformation.

Read more

By |July 8th, 2013|Press|Comments Off on Wal-Mart calls D.C. Council’s ‘living wage’ bill a bait-and-switch tactic : The Washington Post

Raising the Minimum Wage: Will it Help? : Brookings

Acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris has been making the rounds to promote the Obama Administration’s plan for raising the minimum wage from $7 to $9. In a new paper that compares strategies to improve the earnings of low-income households, we find that increasing the minimum wage would go a long way to help those in the bottom-third of the income distribution who are currently supported by sub-$9/hour earners. The higher minimum wage would boost these household’s earnings by about 19%.

Read more

By |July 2nd, 2013|Press|Comments Off on Raising the Minimum Wage: Will it Help? : Brookings

Ralph Nader to President Obama: It’s Your Sole Decision

Dear President Obama,

June 25th marked the 75th anniversary of the federal minimum wage law in the United States, known as the Fair Labor Standards Act. When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed this legislation, his vision was to ensure a “fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” and to “end starvation wages.”

Seventy five years later, there are 3.6 million Americans working for pay at or below the federal minimum wage. More extensively, thirty million low wage workers are making less today, adjusted for inflation, than they did 45 years ago in 1968. They are working for a minimum wage that does not even reach the federal poverty line for a family of three and they cannot afford basic necessities like food, housing, transportation, and health care.

Had the minimum wage simply kept pace with inflation since 1968, it would stand at $10.70 per hour today instead of the current federal minimum wage of $7.25. In that time, the minimum wage has lost nearly one-third of its value while the prices of everything from food to housing to health care have been increasing – often at rates higher than inflation. Each year that the federal minimum wage is not increased, you and Congress are effectively telling low-wage workers that they are not worth as much as they were the year before and each of the dollars they earn gets stretched even further due to the effects of inflation.

Here’s where you can make a decisive executive decision.

Just about a month ago, federally contracted low-wage workers walked off the job and participated in some of the larger strikes the nation’s capital has seen in recent years. Despite the fact that they work indirectly for the federal government, they are […]

By |June 27th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Ralph Nader to President Obama: It’s Your Sole Decision