The federal minimum wage for non-exempt employees in 2019 is $7.25 per hour. According to the National Center for State Legislators (NCSL), 18 states raised the minimum wage for their residents at the beginning of the year. The issue has been at the forefront of concerns for US voters even the 2016 election when Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders, insisted that employers needed to pay workers a living wage.
NASDAQ.com reported on its website that on Wednesday, June 5th, Sanders was due to attended Walmart’s shareholder’s meeting to apply pressure to raise the minimum wage for all of the 1.5 million employees who work for the company.
Both Sanders and employees of Walmart have been known to remark to the press that wages at the retailer are so low that they find it necessary to be on government benefits because the retailer doesn’t pay them enough.
In a Tweet on Tuesday, June 4th, Sanders appealed to his more than 9.3 million followers:
“The Waltons… earn $25,000 a minute. The average Walmart employee makes $25,000 a year. My message to the Walton’s is simple: Pay your employees a living wage of $15 an hour!”
Even with such media attention and public pressure, the measure has little chance of passing. The majority of Walmart shares are held by members of the Walton family. In a separate tweet, Sanders remarked:
“Americans should not be subsidizing the richest family in America, and @Walmart workers should not be living in poverty. Walmart’s greed has got to end.”
In the past three years, Walmart has raised wages for all of its employees to $11.00 per hour. In a statement, the company said that its hourly employees on average earn $17.50 per hour, including benefits.