This special feature is produced by Democracy at Work for Worker Independent News. This is Richard Wolff from Democracy at Work.
I know that many folks have been paying attention to the rather heroic efforts of retail and restaurant workers across America trying to get fifteen dollars an hour. It’s is hardly good pay and it is hardly anything close to getting the American dream but, it is a great deal better than anything those workers have been getting. It is a noble cause it is being fought in a noble way.
But it also has enemies and I want to talk about those enemies and draw a certain comparison. It’s mainly the leadership in the restaurant and retail industry that are pushing back. They don’t want, corporations don’t, to pay higher wages because they fear it will eat into their profits. Oh well they don’t say that, they talk about being concerned that they may have to lay off some workers if the actually had to pay them fifteen dollars and hour but, their concern for poor workers is hard to take seriously unless you really haven’t been paying much attention. So we know they are fighting back because they don’t want to give up profits. But lets take a look at the people who run the restaurant and retail industries in America. They are not little mom and pop outfits, not anymore, they have all been consolidated.
I want to talk about a bunch of them that are famous to you. CVS the huge drugstore pharmaceutical company; L Brands, which you do not know under that name probably but you know as Victoria’s Secret; Starbucks, well I don’t need to explain that; and Walmart. Let’s take a look at those four because their CEOs, their chief executives, all have something in common; they all make a lot of money. And very interestingly USA Today recently calculated how much they get per hour, the heads of CVS, Victoria’s Secret, Starbucks and Walmart. And here is an interesting fact for you to think about, all of them earn more than $9,000 an hour.
But they don’t want to pay $15.00 an hour.