In the News

Walmart, the world's largest retailer (and America's largest private employer), occupies a rather strange place in the business landscape: a technologically innovative company with a down-home reputation – a low-wage, low-benefit employer that prides itself on a family atmosphere. Walmart masks the lousy working conditions that make its profits with its particular form of market populism: millions of "Walmart moms" can't be wrong for wanting to "save money, live better", can they?

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Walmart employee Janet Sparks claims she's not making a living wage, but insists she's determined to change that. "Across the country, we're all standing together today," she told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune while holding up a protest sign outside of the big box store.

Sparks and five other Walmart employees, along with local group Walmart Moms and the AFL-CIO protested outside of the Cortana Mall Walmart Wednesday (June 4) as part of a national day of action against the chain store leading up to its annual shareholders' meeting.

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While many of Walmart's workers rely on food stamps and other government aid to make ends meet, its top eight executives are living better, thanks in part to $298 million in tax-deductible "performance pay" during the past six years.

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The idea of retirement in the U.S. often conjures up images of fit seniors strolling along the beach, enjoying a leisurely round of golf or perhaps sharing a meal in an exotic locale. For most people, however, the reality is far less glamorous.

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Women are disproportionately impacted by the low wages and the often erratic work schedules in the retail industry, says a new report.

Poverty and low wages, not income inequality, are hurting women's fortunes, according to the Economic Policy Institute, and the obvious way to solve that issue is to simply pay people more money. "If we don't boost wages, then we're not going to get middle-class income growing, and we'll never lift people out of poverty," the institute's president, Lawrence Mishel, told The Washington Post.

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Even at the mall or a discount store, where women are courted and catered to, they are paid less than men. Women in US retail jobs earn on average $4 an hour less than men, or 72 cents for every dollar men make, according to a new report by Demos, a liberal nonprofit public policy organization. The overall pay gap for women in the US is around 80 cents.

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In the coming days, you will be hearing a lot about working women. Not the women leaning in, not the women opting out, but the working women living in or near poverty.

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An industry that’s one of the largest employers of women and one of the fastest job creators in the country also has a huge pay gap. The average female retail salesperson makes $10.58 per hour, while her average male colleague makes $14.62, according to a new study from Demos, a think tank focused on income inequality.

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This is the face of today's fast food workers -- 70% of whom are over the age of 20, nearly 40% have children and a third of them have spent some time in college, according to U.S. census data. [...]

Public policy group Demos says CEO compensation in the industry just since 2000 quadrupled to $24 million, while average fast food worker's wage only increased 0.3%.

Fast food CEOs also make 1,000 times more than the average worker in the industry.

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