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Photo: Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images

Walmart is boosting starting wages, providing a one-time bonus for employees and expanding benefits, the company said on Thursday, citing the tax cuts signed into law by President Trump last year. The company is also closing 63 Sam's Club stores, it announced Thursday.

Details: The bonus is based on length of service, with those who've worked 20 years eligible for $1,000. The company, which is the largest private employer in the U.S. and employs roughly 2.2 million people worldwide, is also raising its starting wage to $11 an hour. The current starting wage for store associates is $9 an hour. The company also said it plans to expand its maternity and paternity leave benefits.

The plan benefits more than a million employees, the company told Axios.

Several other large companies have also doled out bonuses and announced employee raises thanks to the new tax cuts:

  • Bank of America gave roughly 145,000 employees a year-end $1,000 bonus.
  • AT&T also gave $1,000 bonuses to more than 200,000 U.S. employees.
  • Fifth-Third Bancorp told Axios' Dan Primack that it will raise the minimum wage of its workforce to $15 per hour.
  • Wells Fargo said it would increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour, and plans to allocate $400 million in donations to community and nonprofit organizations in 2018.
  • Boeing committed $300 million for charitable giving, employee development programs and "workplace of the future" facilities and infrastructure enhancement.
  • NBCUniversal said it would award $1,000 in bonuses to more than one hundred thousand eligible frontline and non-executive employees.

Go deeper

Virginia governor orders probe into pepper-spraying of Army officer

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam at the Governor's Mansion in Richmond, Va. in 2019. Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced Sunday he's ordered the state police to conduct an independent investigation into a traffic stop during which two officers pepper-sprayed and drew guns on an Army lieutenant.

Driving the news: Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, is suing the police officers over the incident, which attracted widespread criticism after video footage emerged. Northam said in a statement he found the incident "disturbing" and that it angered him.

Biden pollster urges blunt tax talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The top pollster for Joe Biden's presidential campaign is advising the White House to do something that often makes Democrats nervous: Talk loudly and proudly about raising taxes on the rich.

Why it matters: John Anzalone tells Axios his extensive polling and research has found that few issues receive broader support than raising taxes on corporations and people earning more than $400,000 a year.

On the front lines of the growing border crisis

A migrant mother and her children sit in the dirt at a temporary processing center under the Anzalduas International Bridge in McAllen, Texas. Photo: Stef Kight/Axios

At night, parents with young children march through the brush after crossing the Rio Grande River in the pitch black. By day, unaccompanied kids arrive at shelters, in one instance 17 of 17 testing positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: Axios accompanied a delegation of Republican lawmakers to South Texas last week — followed by a unilateral visit to El Paso — to see in real-time the challenges fueled by a border surge, the effects of actions taken by the previous administration, and the lagging response by the new one.