Skip to comments.The 12 Companies Paying Americans the Least (But you might have to work for them in this economy)
Posted on 11/21/2012 9:10:13 AM PST by SeekAndFind
The gap between rich and poor is well illustrated by the large multi-billion dollar corporations employing thousands of low-wage workers. With the Great Recession over, not only are many of these companies now hitting record profits, but their executive pay remains spectacularly high. Meanwhile, according to a report released by the National Employment Law Project, the current federal minimum wage the workers are often paid, is worth 30% less than it was in 1968 in terms of purchasing power.
Two-thirds of low-wage workers those that are paid less than $10 an hour are employed by large corporations with at least 100 employees reports NELP. All of the largest companies in low-wage industries, including McDonalds, Walmart, and Starbucks own hundreds, even thousands, ofstores across the country. Based on NELPs July 2012 report, Big Business, Corporate Profits, and the MinimumWage, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 12 American companies that pay the least. These employers fall into one of two categories. They are are either large nationalrestaurant chains such as McDonalds, Burger King, and Starbucks, employing tens of thousands of cashiers and cooks. Seven of the 12 companies fall into this category. The others are large nationalretailers, employing tens of thousands of cashiers and salespeople, like Walmart, Target, and Sears.
In addition to low wages, many of these companies have a history of poor labor relations that extends beyond underpaying their employees. Long hours, unsafe or unpleasant working conditions, limited benefits and restricting access to full-time work, often accompany minimum wage jobs in many of these companies.
The recession has affected every company on this list. Many used the downturn to explain reductions in employee benefits, long hours, and continued low pay. However, the recession is over for a majority of minimum-wage employers. Nine of the 12 companies on this list have been profitable for the past three years. Of these 12 companies, a full ten had higher revenue compared to 2010.
Despite this fact, improvements in employee benefits or an increase in pay have not materialized for workers at most of the companies on the list.
Based on the National Law Employment Projects report, 24/7 Wall St. Identified the 12 largest companies in industries that are primarily low-wage employers. The report also provided the most recent available data on the totalsize of the companies workforces, the recent performance of the corporations in terms of revenue and profit, and the highest executive pay at these companies. 24/7 Wall St. also reviewed revenue, income, and the number of stores from company filings.
These are the companies paying Americans the least.
12. J.C. Penney
> U.S. workforce: 159,000
> Highest compensation: $53,281,505
> Revenue: $17.26 billion
> Net income: -$152 million
> No. of U.S. stores: 1,102
J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) is poor example of a low-wage employer that has rebounded from the recession stronger than ever. So far, Penneys attempts at a turnaround have failed, and it is struggling just to stay afloat. The retailer has posted a big third-quarter loss, its shares tanked and Standard & Poors lowered its credit rating deeper into junk status. IfJ.C. Penney cannot get some traction during the holiday season, employees no doubt willface more layoffs. It would not surprise many analysts if the retailer went the way ofWoolworths and MontgomeryWard.
11. Darden Restaurants > U.S. workforce: 165,475
> Highest compensation: $8,480,148
> Revenue: $8.00 billion
> Net income: $475.5 million
> No. of U.S. stores: 1,994
A lawsuit filed in September charged Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) with violating federal labor laws by underpaying thousands ofservers across the country at its Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Red Lobster chains. The action represented employees who who worked for the company going back to Aug. 2009 and sought millions of dollars in back wages and other compensation. Were seeking not only to correct the wrongs that have occurred at Darden, but hopefully this willstimulate change across the country, said a lead attorney in the case.
While the compensation of CEO Clarence Otis Jr. did drop from $8.48 million in 2011 to $8.08 million in 2012, that cannot be much comfort to those at the bottom of the pay scale at Darden.
> U.S. workforce: 168,672
> CEO compensation: $16,537,725
> Revenue: $2.13 billion
> Net income: $12.9 million
> No. of U.S. stores: 6,594
The Wendys Company (NYSE:WEN) efforts to remake itself appear to be paying off. Same-store sales have risen for six straight quarters, and the company tries to sidle away from the traditionalfast-food category toward the fast-casual arena occupied by the likes of Panera Bread Co. (NASDAQ: PNRA) and Chipotle Mexican GrillInc. (NYSE:CMG). Investors have been rewarded with a recent boost to the quarterly dividend to $0.04 per share from $0.02 per share, though shares have been largely range-bound between $4 and $5 for almost four years. It remains to be seen whether Wendys employees will benefit from the recent success. Its interesting to note that the top compensation package at Wendys is greater than those at McDonalds or Starbucks.
> U.S. workforce: 171,000
> CEO compensation: $17,650,702
> Revenue: $26.41 billion
> Net income: $1.26 billion
> No. of U.S. stores: 842
Unlike many of the companies on the list, some ofMacys (NYSE:M) workers are members of a union and they have achieved several concessions from the company. Specifically, next spring, senior members of the retail unions at New York Citys Bloomingdales and Macys will be able to choose their preferred hours of work by setting their own schedules and vacation time. According to UPI, these gains are in contrast to the scheduling uncertainties rampant in an increasingly just in time work force.While workers count this as a small victory, only 4% ofMacys and Bloomingdales combined 171,000 employees are members of a union.
> U.S. workforce: 173,350
> CEO compensation: $5,392,402
> Revenue: $1.08 billion
> Net income: $75.2 million
> No. of U.S. stores: 3,569
DineEquity Inc. (NYSE: DIN), the parent company of Applebees and IHOP, has more employees and more stores than Darden, a similar company compared to others on the list. Yet the top level compensation at DineEquity is $5.39 million compared to $8.04 million at Darden. DineEquitys $1.08 billion revenue was less than Dardens as well. In recent news, Zane Tankel, who owns 40 Applebees franchises in the New York metropolitan area, has raised the ire of Applebees employees and customers when he said he would freeze hiring and would consider cutting current employee hours due to passage the Affordable Care Act. DineEquity has distanced itself from the comments.
> U.S. workforce: 176,533
> CEO compensation: $16,079,480
> Revenue: $13.30 billion
> Net income: $1.38 billion
> No. of U.S. stores: 12,903
Unlike other companies on the list, some of Starbucks Corp.s (NASDAQ: SBUX) workers are represented by a union. The Starbucks Workers Union has argued that the company has cut benefits and stagnated salaries while reporting record profits. Of course, on its website the company claims that it is dedicated to earning the trust and respect of our customer, partners and neighbours by being responsible and doing things that are good for the planet and each other.
6. Burger King
> U.S. workforce: 191,815
> CEO compensation: $4,015,619
> Revenue: $2.33 billion
> Net income: $107.0 million
> No. of U.S. stores: 7,453
In August, representatives of Burger King Holdings Inc. (NYSE:BKW), Subway and McDonalds went to Washington to complain to lawmakers about the Affordable Care Act. SteenWiborg, president of Burger King in North America, told The Wall Street Journal that Many of our franchisees willstruggle with how to reconcile the financial implications and will likely take other measures to reduce costs. Burger King, which had revenue of $2.3 billion last year, currently offers a limited benefit plan, which it describes as the red carpet treatment and that is also unpopular with its workers.
> U.S. workforce: 264,000
> CEO compensation: $9,932,924
> Revenue: $41.57 billion
> Net income: -$3.11 billion
> No. of U.S. stores: 3,510
Many companies like to tout how important their employees are, and Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) is no different. Our associates are at the heart of our company and we value teamwork, integrity, and positive energy, says the companys website. Unfortunately for the employees, the operator of Sears and Kmart has struggled in recent years, as evidenced by its recent massive $3.11 billion net loss, despite having revenue of $41.6 billion. In addition, similar to Walmart and Target, Sears and Kmart stores will be open on Thanksgiving for early Black Friday shopping, meaning the employees will have to work this holiday. Sears said it expects holiday hiring to be about the same as a year ago, while Walmart, ToysRUs and other retailers increased their seasonal hires.
> U.S. workforce: 365,000
> CEO compensation: $19,707,107
> Revenue: $69.87 billion
> Net income: $2.93 billion
> No. of U.S. stores: 1,763
Shortly after competitor Walmart announced that it would open its doors for Black Friday shoppers at 8 p.m. Thursday, Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) then said that it would also open its doors Thursday night. Employees were not thrilled by the news. One California-based Target worker drafted a petition calling on Target to save Thanksgiving and stick to its Friday opening time. More than 220,000 people have signed the petition. Target insists that it took employees into consideration before making the decision to open early. One executive said, We had so many team members who wanted to work on Thursday that hundreds of our stores are now keeping lists of volunteers who want to work ifshifts open up.
> U.S. workforce: 859,978
> CEO compensation: $4,073,748
> Revenue: $27.01 billion
> Net income: $5.50 billion
> No. of U.S. stores: 14,098
McDonalds (NYSE:MCD) is the king of fast-food, with revenue greater than any other restaurant operator on this list, and far more locations as well. The companys website offers a long list of awards and recognition for the diversity of its workplace. But even McDonalds is not immune to economic pressures. The company just reported its first monthly drop in globalrevenue at locations open more than a year, down 1.8% in October. McDonalds USA president, Jan Fields was subsequently ousted to be replaced by Jeff Stratton, who is currently global chief restaurant officer.
2. Yum! Brands
> U.S. workforce: 880,330
> CEO compensation: $20,411,852
> Revenue: $12.63 billion
> Net income: $1.33 billion
> No. of U.S. stores: 16,006
Because Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM), the operator of the Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC chains, is one of the biggest employers of low wage workers, it takes benefits seriously. According to watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy, the fast food giant co-chaired the labor and business regulation subcommittee of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-funded bill mill that encourages laws that benefits its corporate members. At a 2011 meeting, attendees considered model bills designed to override paid sick leave legislation in the states. In 2012, following negative press over ALEC initiatives and the departure ofMcDonalds, Wendys, Yum! Brands became one ofseveral large companies to abandon the council.
> U.S. workforce: 1,400,000
> CEO compensation: $18,131,738
> Revenue: $446.95 billion
> Net income: $15.70 billion > No. of U.S. stores: 3,868
The labor practices of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) have long received negative attention in the press, but that has not affected investors much. WMTs share price rose more than 48% in the past five years. In 2008, Walmart agreed to pay $640 million in settlements of dozens of class-action lawsuits that claimed the company deprived workers of pay for time worked. In October a class action lawsuit was filed in a Chicago federal court alleging that the retailer had violated minimum wage and overtime laws. Walmart workers have begun to strike, and some plan to walk off the job on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. Walmart has filed an unfairlabor-practice complaint against the United Food and CommercialWorkers International Union to prevent this from happening.
Wow this is dumb. They pay the ‘most the least’ because they create more entry level positions than other companies.
“Despite this fact, improvements in employee benefits or an increase in pay have not materialized for workers at most of the companies on the list. “
How is this different from the rest of us?
As long as supply of workers (i.e., un or underemployed) exceed the demand for labor, the pay rates will never go up. Yes, the Government could “mandate” higher wages, but that will just drive more into the unemployment lines. All this UNLESS the socialist planners of this country tell employers who they can hire and fire and how much they will pay. A revolution will sure to follow.
exactly! as i started going down the list my thought was, "oh brother!"
If the only job that you have the skills to do is retail..well you are stuck with the law of supply and demand. If you want to make more money..work at a more skilled or tougher trade. There are lots of welders, fitters, electrician, skilled machine jobs out there that pay better.
If you are too proud to get dirty..or too lazy to learn a profession or skill..well flip that burger and stock those shelves.
These companies not only provide a great deal for all of us as consumers, they are places people can often get honest work quickly when you need a job. Some of these jobs are pretty good, too, some not but people move along to other jobs when they can and want to do it. There’s a lot of gain for all of us with these companies, their products and services, and yes: the millions of jobs they provide us.
Single income retail workers used to be able to support their family. What has changed?
Oldexpat: Whole heartedly agree. It wasn’t written about me, but for those yea-woos who think they are “entitled” to everything.
The despicable envy promoting left hates the facts of any matter especially things like what some have already posted. Some of those being what each company brings us as a whole and more.
What I would like to point out is that the CEO of Starbucks makes slightly less than the CEO of WalMart and yet as a percentage of the over revenue makes FAR more than the WalMart CEO....but, they’re liberal....THEY get a PASS.
Barcodes. It used to require skill to be a retailer, you had to know your stock, know your customer. Now you could train a chimp to do most of the retail work, especially at the discount retailers. Somebody that’s good at it can still move on to better companies and make good money. But the majority of retail work now is completely skill-less, they’re basically fastfood jobs without the grease, and turn over and pay have changed accordingly.
many of the jobs at Walmart and Home Depot and Lowes and Star*ucks are very decent, even actually pretty good jobs. Indoors most of the time, little difficult physical labor, you are normally treated quite cordially (not always, I know) and there is a lot of social contact inherent in the work.
Your point is excellent, too. While these companies are often credited with providing many “entry level” jobs, implying the positions are only for the young to help them get started in life, actually many older people like to work for these companies, too. With one exception, all of the staff at our local Lowes hardware store have stayed there for a number of years ... and like it. This is good for us customers as these people have learned the answers to most of our questions.
We all can’t be subversive journalists or “community organizers,” after all.
“So far, Penneys attempts at a turnaround have failed, and it is struggling just to stay afloat... If J.C. Penney cannot get some traction during the holiday season, employees no doubt willface more layoffs.”
Starting the layoffs with Ellen Degeneres might help.
This has been going on for 50 years. Fast food jobs, working at Walmart or Sears are not the path to success. Unless you plan to go into management.
Entry level jobs and part time jobs for most of those employed by these companies. Some included jobs where the servers receive tips. Just more anti-business baloney from the left.
Yes, all retail or fast food, and in both industries the vast majority of the jobs are not intended or expected to be life-time-career-primary breadwinner jobs; they are jobs for teens and in-college students; part-time jobs for full-time moms (extra money for the family); retirees supplementing social security &/or other retirment income; in between jobs for seasonal workers; getting-job-experience jobs for unskilled, inexperienced, low grades high school grads still living with mom & dad; and people in similar statuses in the work force.
Are their others that fall into these not-for-primary-bread-winner jobs. Yes. That is not the fault of the employers who hire them and at least give them some employment where others have none to offer.
I am not saying there are not life-time-career primary-breadwinner jobs in these companies. I am only saying such jobs are, by the job requirements, are only a small portion of the kind of jobs these companies provide, and that is why mere “average” compensation figures, out of conext of the kind of work/jobs and the majority of the types of people filling the jobs, is misleading. It is misleading because the authors expect EVERY job in the world to be a life-time-career-primary-breadwinner job, when in the past or now that has never been a reality.
The “income gap” within these companies’ labor costs are directly related to the “skills gap” between the types of labor being compensated. An executive postition requires a lot of intellectual skill and is therefore compensated accordingly. A fry cook or cashier at the bottom of the labor pool are appreciated daily by the customers, but their skills are very common and easily obtained.
I asked a younger healthy worker, who was having severe money problems, why he wasn't working at a higher paying job like the local meat packing plants. He answered, "I found out a long time ago that I don't like manuel labor." Your choice. If you don't want manuel labor, you should get a college edication or technical skill.
And so it begins. The mass vilification of the Grrrrrreeeedy Eeeeeeeevil Corporations who have been HOARDING PILES OF CASH rather than creating Living Wage Jobs for The People under the magnificent beneficence that is Obama.
And, for a couple of these, also payback for daring to squawk about Obamacare.
Also part of the opening salvo of the full-court press to unionize these companies.