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 your associates being paid poverty wages a raise to $10.50 per hour,” Nader said.

Nader made sure to point out that Walmart operates in other countries where they must, by law, provide their employees with higher wages and greater benefits than in the United States. In Canada, Walmart pays minimum wages above $10 per hour in every province except Alberta. In the United Kingdom, in October, they will pay a minimum wage of $9.50 per hour. In Canada, Walmart must also provide its employees with two weeks of paid vacation and in Ontario they must pay their workers $10.25 per hour. In the United Kingdom, workers are guaranteed 28 days of paid leave, or five and a half weeks (this includes holidays).

These higher wages and required employee benefits aren’t stopping you from operating in these countries and bringing in profits; so what is stopping you from doing just one of these things in the U.S. and raising your American employees’ wages to $10.50 per hour? What do you have against your associates in the United States?” Nader asked incredulously.

Are 1.3 million workers here worth less than they are in other countries? What is stopping you from treating your employees in the U.S. with the same level of respect? After all the Walmart Board of Directors gives you $11,000 an hour (plus benefits) of ‘respect,’” concluded Nader.


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