Sure. You try raising a family on $103,698 a week….
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.
Let’s compare two employees:
…Jason Mrkwa, 27, a high school graduate who stocks frozen food at a Wal-Mart in Independence, Kan., maintains that he is underpaid. “I make $8.53, even though every one of my evaluations has been above standard,” Mr. Mrkwa (pronounced MARK-wah) said. “You can’t really live on this.
…With pay that brings him about $20,000 a year, he said he could not afford a decent apartment or a vehicle better than his 1991 Dodge Dakota. “I don’t see why Wal-Mart can’t pay more,” Mr. Mrkwa said. “Unfortunately, in the market we live in there just aren’t many jobs available.”
Then there is:
H. Lee Scott Jr., Wal-Mart’s chief executive, vigorously defends his company, arguing that wages are primarily determined by market forces and that Wal-Mart pays more than most retailers and provides better opportunities for advancement.
“If people tell you that Wal-Mart is leading the so-called ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of job quality or pay, they’re not only wrong, they’re dead wrong,” he said to journalists at a company-sponsored conference here in April, the first time Wal-Mart has gone out of its way to invite a number of reporters to its headquarters to hear its views. “We are instead creating a better workplace with more opportunity and more benefits than have been available in retail.”
So, how are you holding up H. Lee? I’m glad you asked.
It looks like Mr. Scott Jr. makes more on Monday (in salary and bonus combined) than Jason does all year. And that’s chump change compared to his stock grants.
But that $2600 per hour must be pretty sweet.