Companies Paying Americans the Least

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5. Aramark (NYSE:ARMK)
> Workforce: 266,500
> Annual profit: $288.2M
> CEO salary: $6.0M (Eric J. Foss)
> Industry: Eating places

Aramark is a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Philadelphia with operations in 19 countries and approximately 270,000 employees overall. The company, which recently became the official merchandise concessionaire of the National Football League, provides food, facilities, and uniform services to a range of clients in sports, education, healthcare, and business.

Food services is a relatively low paying industry, and the average salary for an Aramark food service worker is only $23,393 a year — about $1,000 below the federal poverty level for a family of four.

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4. Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT)
> Workforce: 323,000
> Annual profit: $2.7B
> CEO salary: $1.6M (Brian C. Cornell)
> Industry: Variety stores

Target employs some 323,000 Americans in 1,802 retail locations across every U.S. state with the exception of Vermont. Nationwide, the retail giant pays sales floor team members and cashiers an average hourly wage of $9.35 and $9.24, respectively.

Low employee pay may be necessary for Target to remain lean enough to survive. At a time when many major brick-and-mortar retailers are being gutted by e-commerce retailers, Target is bucking the trend. While department store chains like Sears and Macy’s are shuttering stores each year, Target plans on opening 30 in 2017, including a location in midtown Manhattan.

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3. McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD)
> Workforce: 375,000
> Annual profit: $4.7B
> CEO salary: $6.4M (Stephen J. Easterbrook)
> Industry: Eating places

In 2015, McDonald’s made headlines for pledging to pay employees at least $1 more per hour than the legal minimum wage. While the move was a boon for the company’s public relations, about 90% of McDonald’s employees did not benefit from the raise as it only applied to company-owned stores and not franchised locations. Today, as one of the largest fast food chains by employment, the company ranks among those paying Americans the least. The company has some 14,155 restaurants across the United States and directly employs 375,000 people worldwide. In the U.S., the typical McDonald’s crew member earns only $8.43 an hour.

2. The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR)
> Workforce: 443,000
> Annual profit: $2.0B
> CEO salary: $2.3M (W. Rodney McMullen)
> Industry: Grocery stores

Present in nearly every American town, grocery stores are among the biggest employers in the United States. They are also among the lowest paying. The median hourly wage among grocery stores in the United States is only $10.89 — well below the median wage in most other jobs paying by the hour. Wages for many employees at Kroger, one of the largest U.S. grocery chains by total employment, is even lower. Despite the fact that the majority of Kroger employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements, the average hourly wage for a Kroger cashier is only $8.39, according to hundreds of reviews on Glassdoor. Kroger employs some 443,000 workers across 2,796 U.S. locations.

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1. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) (sam) done
> Workforce: 2.3M
> Annual profit: $14.3B
> CEO salary: $1.3M (C. Douglas McMillon)
> Industry: Variety stores

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is the parent company of Sam’s Club and Walmart — the world’s largest department store. Walmart is also the world’s largest company, with an annual revenue of $481.3 billion, and largest employer, with a total of 2.3 million workers. Cashiers earn an average hourly wage of only $9.36, and sales associates report average wages of only $9.41 per hour. To compare, the national median hourly wage is $17.81.

Wal-Mart’s strict anti-union stance and policies have helped it keep wages low for its massive workforce. The company is notorious for actively oppressing unionization, using store managers as a first line of defense against employees organizing.