Walmart’s wages and hiring practices have long been the bane of labor organizers across the world, but this week hundreds took the streets of Los Angeles to protest the lack of economic security for the mega-corporation’s employees.
Here is what you need to know about the protests and their demands:
1. 54 People Were Arrested
Thursday night 54 people were arrested outside the newly opened Chinatown Walmart in Los Angeles. According to Reuters, the protesters were arrested after refusing police orders to disperse.
The 54 people arrested were taken from a crowd of around 200 and held in jail overnight if they could not pay the $500 bail.
2. Walmart’s Average Yearly Salary for a Sales Associate Is $17,849
Glen Arnodo, the staff director of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, told Reuters, “Walmart really perpetuates and epitomizes the unequal distribution of wealth that we have in this country right now.”
Walmart has a rating of 2.9 of 5 on labor ranking website Glassdoor. According to the statistics, the average Walmart sales associate makes around $8.86 an hour, totaling to around $17,849 a year.
The U.S. Poverty threshold as of 2012 was $11,720 for a one person household, and $14,937 for a two person household.
3. Walmart’s CEO Makes Over $18 Million a Year
Forbes reported that Mike Duke, who has been CEO of Walmart since February of 2009, was paid a total of $18,712,721 including stock options, salary, and “incentive compensation.”
Thus far, Walmart has grossed over $469 billion in 2013.
The owners of Walmart, the Walton family, own approximately 49% of the company which allowed them in 2012 to add $2.2 billion to their net worth of $93 billion.
That $2.2 billion equals the yearly wages of approximately 123,256 Walmart employees.
4. Walmart Says No Employees Were Involved in the Protest
Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg told Reuters after the protests that all of the Los Angeles stores were fully staffed during the protests saying,
We’ve seen time and again that there are virtually no associates participating in these orchestrated events because they know the truth about knowing for Wal-Mart.We provide our associates with more opportunities for career growth and greater economic security for their family than many other companies in America
5. Walmart Employs 2.2 Million People Worldwide
According to Walmart.com, at the end of the 2013 fiscal year, Walmart had approximately 2.2 million employees world wide, and round 1.3 million in the United States.
According to FOX news, there are around 13,000 Walmart employees in LA County.