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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 […]

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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.

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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%.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Dr. Michael Reich set the record straight on the minimum wage (Video)

By |June 26th, 2013|Press|Comments Off on Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Dr. Michael Reich set the record straight on the minimum wage (Video)

Labor secretary urges minimum wage hike : The Hill

The acting secretary of labor wants Congress to raise the federal minimum wage.

Higher wages will cycle back into the economy, acting Secretary Seth Harris said on Tuesday, and pay levels that keep pace with inflation will take the politics out of the debate.

“When working families have more money in their pockets, they pump it right back into the local economies,” he said. “The business owners I’ve met supported the higher minimum wage because they know it means more people have more to spend on goods and services, and that of course helps their businesses grow.”
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By |June 26th, 2013|Press|Comments Off on Labor secretary urges minimum wage hike : The Hill