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Think Tank: How Walmart Could Pay Workers $14.89 an Hour

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A progressive policy research center says that the nation’s largest retailer could easily afford to increase the wages of its employees, if it would choose to avoid “Wall Street financial maneuvers.”

New York City-based Demos published a report from two policy analysts calculating that Walmart could raise low-salaried employee wages by $5.83 an hour — if it spent the $7.6 billion it invested in share repurchases last year to raise wages instead. A spokesman for Walmart said that the study was “simply propaganda that was created and funded by our critics,” the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes.

Walmart reports an average hourly wage of $12.87 for its employees. Labor activists, who have long criticized the chain for underpaying workers, says the real average hourly wage is between $8 and $10 an hour. The Demos study estimates that the average Walmart hourly worker makes $9.06 an hour. With the extra $5.83, that would be raised to $14.89 an hour, boosting average annual salaries for hourly workers to about $25,000.

Read the full report: A Higher Wage Is Possible