Wal-Mart: Not bad, on average

Wal-Mart representatives, especially those public-relations people who don’t actually work for the company, like to say Wal-Mart associates are well-paid and enjoy health benefits. In fact a PR man from Folsom told a gathering of local nonprofits a few weeks ago that all the associates at the Chico store enjoy high pay and good benefits. If true, the local store is quite the exception because the company’s own figures, released Jan. 1, 2006, define full-time employees as those working 34 hours per week. At $10.11 per hour, the average Wal-Mart wage, that pencils out to an annual salary of $17,874.48. The federal government’s definition of poverty for a family of four in the contiguous United States in 2005 was $19,350. The Wal-Mart Web site reports that the company provides health care benefits to 620,000 of its 1.3 million associates in the United States, or about 48 percent. On the other hand, Wal-Mart’s top eight executives are doing OK, according to a Jan. 9 disclosure by the company. According to the Security & Exchange Commission files those executives and their stock options are:

Executive, stock option

Edward Castro-Wright $3,900,007.02

Michael Duke $5,400,009.72

Charles Holley $750,001.35

Thomas Hyde $1,500,002.70

Lawrence Jackson $3,000,005.40

John Menzer $6,990,021.72

C. Douglas McMillion $3,000,005.40

Tom Schoewe $3,600,006.48

H. Lee Scott $18,989,997.63

Sources: 2005 Wal-Mart Benefits Guide, pg 27; Wal-Mart Press Release 1/10/06; 2005 HHS Poverty Guidelines,

Wal-Mart SEC Filing, Form 4, 1/09/06,