Walmart CEO Pay: More in an Hour Than Workers Get All Year?
By ALICE GOMSTYN
By Ed Smith’s math, the CEO of Walmart earns more in an hour than his employees will earn in a year.
Smith, an alderman in Chicago, presented posters at a city council meeting showing that Walmart CEO Michael Duke’s $35 million salary, when converted to an hourly wage, worked out to $16,826.92. By comparison, at a Walmart store planned for the Windy City’s Pullman neighborhood, new employees to be paid $8.75 an hour would gross $13,650 a year.
Smith’s numbers could be a bit off. Equilar, an executive compensation research firm, calculates that Duke earned just south of $20 million in 2009 and $28 million in 2008, not counting millions of dollars in potential performance awards. But the alderman argued that there’s still a “sad” contrast between Duke’s compensation and the wages of his employees.
“How can you go to bed at night and sleep knowing you make this kind of money and the people working for you can hardly buy a package of beans and rice?” he asked in an interview with ABCNews.com.
Walmart, meanwhile, said that its wages across the country are competitive in local markets and that on average, hourly employee pay — which includes more experienced workers but not managers — ranges from $10 to more than $12.
The retail giant made no apologies for Duke’s salary.
“I don’t think Mike Duke needs, as the CEO of a Fortune 1 company, needs me to defend his compensation package,” said Walmart director of community affairs Steven Restivo, referring to Walmart’s status as the largest company on the planet.