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Walmart CEO Doug McMillon. Photo: Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon urged Congress to increase the federal minimum wage during the retailer's shareholders' meeting on Wednesday, saying that the nationwide standard of $7.25 per hour is "lagging behind."

The other side: Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was present at the meeting, said Walmart pays its employees "starvation wages" — the company's minimum wage is $11 per hour, which was instituted last year — and called for its employees to be paid $15 an hour.

  • Sanders also used his time at the meeting ask Walmart for a seat on the company's board for hourly workers, complaining that employees still have to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing to make ends meet.

By the numbers, according to McMillon:

  • Walmart has increased starting wages by 50% over the last 4 years.
  • The retailer pays an average of $17.50 per hour in wages when bonuses and benefits to associates are factored in.

The state of play: Amazon, one of Walmart's biggest competitors, announced last year that it would hike the minimum wage for its 350,000 employees to $15 an hour. At the time, Sanders said, "I want to give credit where credit is due."

Worth noting: McMillon's salary last year was $23.6 million — more than 1,000 times the median salary of its hourly workers, according to a Washington Post analysis of company filings.

Go deeper: Why Bernie Sanders is crashing Walmart's annual shareholders' meeting

Go deeper

24 mins ago - Health

Johnson & Johnson says booster shot increases efficacy of COVID vaccine

Syringes and a vial of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in French Polynesia on Sept. 8. Photo: Jerome Brouillet/AFP via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson said in a press release Tuesday a global study showed that the protection offered by its coronavirus vaccine was strengthened by a booster shot.

Why it matters: While J&J has not formally applied for authorization to offer booster shots to the general public, it said it has shared the results of the study with the Food and Drug Administration and plans to share it with the World Health Organization and other health regulators.

1 hour ago - World

U.K. prosecutors charge third person in poisoning of former Russian spy

Emergency services members in biohazard encapsulated suits encasing the poisoning scene in a tent in Salisbury, England, in March 2018. Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

U.K. prosecutors said they had enough evidence to charge Denis Sergeev, a member of the Russian military intelligence service, in the 2018 Salisbury nerve agent attack against a former Russian spy, according to AP.

Why it matters: Sergeev is the third person to face charges for the nerve agent attack against Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, both of whom survived.

2 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: More boycotts coming for Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Leaders of the Stop Hate For Profit social media boycott group are discussing whether to organize another campaign against Facebook in light of an explosive investigative series from the Wall Street Journal, Common Sense CEO Jim Steyer tells Axios.

The intrigue: Sources tell Axios that another group, separate from the Stop Hate For Profit organization, is expected to launch its own ad boycott campaign this week.

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