Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Can't Wal-Mart, a Retail Behemoth, Pay More?

Can't Wal-Mart, a Retail Behemoth, Pay More?

From the article:
    With most of Wal-Mart's workers earning less than $19,000 a year, a number of community groups and lawmakers have recently teamed up with labor unions in mounting an intensive campaign aimed at prodding Wal-Mart into paying its 1.3 million employees higher wages.

    A new group of Wal-Mart critics ran a full-page advertisement on April 20 contending that the company's low pay had forced tens of thousands of its workers to resort to food stamps and Medicaid, costing taxpayers billions of dollars. On April 26, as part of a campaign called "Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart," five members of Congress joined women's advocates and labor leaders to assail the company for not paying its female employees more.

    And in a book to be published this fall, a group of scholars will argue that Wal-Mart Stores, having replaced General Motors as the nation's largest company, has an obligation to treat its employees better.
The answer to the question posed in the title of the article, of course, is yes. Wal-Mart pays out a stock dividend of more than a billion dollars every year, the majority of which falls into the pockets of incredibly wealthy individuals. By not paying that dividend to the extremely wealthy, Wal-Mart could instead pay its employees approximately $1,000 more per year. That pay increase would immediately benefit the U.S. economy (as well as Wal-Mart) because those employees would spend or save the money.


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