Special Report

Companies Paying Americans the Least

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10. Dollar Tree, Inc. (Nasdaq:DLTR)> Workforce: 176,800
> Annual profit: $896.2M
> CEO salary: N/A (Gary Philbin)
> Industry: Variety stores

The Dollar Tree is one of several discount stores to make this list. The chain employs some 176,800 workers nationwide, both full- and part-time. Consumers likely appreciate the store for famously offering its products for $1 or less, but such low prices come at cost, including low wages for company workers. According to salary data reported on Glassdoor, Dollar Tree cashiers earn only $8.25 per hour, and sales associates earn only $8.26 an hour — far less than the national median hourly wage of $17.81. Low wages can go a long way in undermining employee morale, and less than half of all Dollar Tree employees who reviewed the company on Glassdoor would recommend a job with the company to a friend.

Dollar Tree acquired Family Dollar in 2015, roughly doubling the company’s total number of properties.

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9. Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI)
> Workforce: 178,729
> Annual profit: $479.1M
> CEO salary: $2.9M (Eugene I. Lee)
> Industry: Eating places

Darden Restaurants, Inc. is the company behind several well known eateries, including Longhorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, and Olive Garden. All told, the company employs some 165,000 hourly workers in 1,689 U.S. restaurants and another six in Canada. Hourly service industry workers are often tipped by customers, and are paid very little by their employers. Servers employed by Darden make an average hourly wage of only $4.49 an hour.

Despite the low wages, Darden employees appear to be relatively satisfied. They tout the company’s benefits such as flexible scheduling options and restaurant discounts.

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8. Marriott International, Inc. (Nasdaq:MAR)
> Workforce: 226,500
> Annual profit: $780.0M
> CEO salary: $4.2M (Arne M. Sorenson)
> Industry: Hotels and motels

The accommodations industry is one of the lowest paying in the country, and Marriott International ranks as one of two hotel chains with some of the lowest-paid employees. Labor unions are a practical way for workers to strengthen their bargaining power and ultimately negotiate higher wages. However, only about 10% of Marriott’s 226,500 employees are union members.

Employees at U.S. Marriott locations working the most common jobs, such as front desk agent, housekeeper, and guest service representative, earn below the poverty level set for a family of four.

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7. The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX)
> Workforce: 235,000
> Annual profit: $2.3B
> CEO salary: $8.1M (Ernie Herrman)
> Industry: Family clothing stores

The TJX Companies, Inc. owns and operates some 2,856 T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods stores throughout the United States. TJX sells name brand merchandise at discounts ranging anywhere from 20% to 60% below their normal retail price. The company is able to sell at a discount while remaining profitable by implementing several strategies. The company buys it merchandise from cancelled orders, manufacturer overruns, and factory closeout sales. And it lowers overhead by cutting costs on store fixtures, advertising — and apparently, employee pay. The company is currently facing lawsuits brought on by current and former employees. The employees allege they were not paid fairly for overtime work and, in other cases, not paid all wages due upon their termination.

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6. Starbucks Corporation (Nasdaq:SBUX)
> Workforce: 254,000
> Annual profit: $2.8B
> CEO salary: N/A (Kevin Johnson)
> Industry: Eating places

Service industry jobs are among the lowest paying in the United States, and Starbucks is one of the largest service industry employers in the country. Nationwide, the company employs some 170,000 people. According to Glassdoor, the typical Starbucks barista makes less than $10 an hour.

As is almost always the case, low pay is not an issue for corporate leadership. Starting in October 2017, former Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer will take over as Starbucks’ chief operating officer. Brewer will enjoy a $1 million signing bonus in addition to $7 million equity bonus and a $1 million base salary. Including benefits, Starbucks’ new second in command will make over 430 times the amount of a barista working full time in her first year.

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