In this file:
· Walmart CEO: America's minimum wage is 'too low'
· Walmart against monopolies: The retail giant is filing a price-fixing lawsuit against a shady Brazilian meatpacker
Walmart CEO: America's minimum wage is 'too low'
By Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business
June 5, 2019
Bentonville, Ark. (CNN Business)Walmart CEO Doug McMillon thinks the federal minimum wage is "too low." Now the head of the country's largest private employer is calling on Congress to raise it beyond $7.25 an hour.
"The federal minimum wage is lagging behind," Doug McMillon said at Walmart's annual shareholder meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas on Wednesday.
Congress has not raised the minimum wage since 2009, but McMillon's surprise comments may give lawmakers an incentive to act. McMillon's call may also ease pressure on Walmart. Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, along with workers' rights groups, have called on Walmart to raise its wages above the company's current $11-an-hour minimum.
McMillon said "it's time for Congress to put a thoughtful plan in place" to increase wages. It was the first time he has pushed Congress to raise pay nationwide, according to the company.
Any plan to increase the minimum wage, however, should take into account cost of living differences around the country "to avoid unintended consequences," McMillon said. He also noted that a hike may need to be phased in over time.
McMillon defended Walmart's moves to raise wages, expand benefits and train its 1.5 million US workers in recent years. The company has steadily been raising its minimum wage, boosting it to $11 an hour more than a year ago. That's up 50% in the last four years, McMillon said.
McMillon added that Walmart pays more than $11 in some markets to "recruit and retain the talent we need to run a good business."
In a hotel ballroom near Walmart's corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Sanders pressed the world's largest retailer to increase its wages and called out McMillon for his nearly $24 million in total pay last year. Sanders also introduced a shareholder resolution that would put hourly workers on Walmart's board of directors. The resolution was voted down on Wednesday.
"Walmart pays many of its employees starvation wages," Sanders said Wednesday...
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Walmart against monopolies: The retail giant is filing a price-fixing lawsuit against a shady Brazilian meatpacker
by Siraj Hashmi, Opinion, Washington Examiner
June 05, 2019
In late May, Walmart filed an antitrust lawsuit against over a dozen poultry producers, including Pilgrim's Pride, a subsidiary of the Brazilian-owned meatpacking conglomerate, JBS USA. The company is currently receiving over $64 million as part of the agriculture bailout while its parent company, J&F Investimentos, is reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission.
The lawsuit alleges that Pilgrim's Pride, headquartered in Greeley, Colo., participated in a conspiracy to manipulate the prices of chicken meat by "coordinating their output and reducing the supply of broiler chickens into the market" creating a "supra-competitive" environment. According to court documents, chicken suppliers destroyed breeder hens to reduce supply, resulting in a 50% price hike in wholesale chicken between 2008 to 2016.
JBS USA purchased a majority stake in Pilgrim's Pride in September 2009.
In April, Kraft, Conagra, and Nestle filed a lawsuit against a number of poultry producers, including Pilgrim's Pride, for price-fixing as well. In February, Pilgrim's Pride was sued by two watchdog groups for false marketing practices, alleging they advertised foods as "natural," "organic," or "humane" while raising chickens in crowded, unsanitary warehouses where they were abused by their employees.
The New York Daily News reported in May that JBS USA not only has been bringing in millions of taxpayer dollars, but also has been fined for underpaying farmers for livestock since early 2017 in addition to announcing at least five recalls for tainted meat with contaminants such as E. coli or salmonella bacteria.
Last week, nine Democratic senators co-signed a letter urging Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to keep commodity purchases for American farmers only and "not the business interests of foreign corporations." The letter also stated that it is "unacceptable that American taxpayers have been subsidizing our competitors through trade assistance."
The lawsuit adds just another legal episode for the troubled billionaire Batista brothers...
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