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

Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 18,814,178 — Total deaths: 707,754— Total recoveries — 11,361,953Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 4,823,891 — Total deaths: 158,256 — Total recoveries: 1,577,851 — Total tests: 58,920,975Map.
  3. Public health: Florida surpasses 500,000 confirmed casesFauci calls U.S. coronavirus testing delays "totally unacceptable."
  4. Business: America's next housing crisis.
  5. States: Virginia launches contact tracing app using specs from Apple and Google.
  6. Cities: L.A. mayor authorizes utilities shut-off at homes hosting large gatherings
  7. Politics: White House, Democrats remain "trillions of dollars apart" on stimulus talks.
33 mins ago - World

Hiroshima mayor warns of rise of nationalism on 75th anniversary

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) at the Memorial Cenotaph in the Peace Memorial Park during the 75th anniversary service for atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima, Japan, on Thursday. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images

Hiroshima's Mayor Kazumi Matsui on Thursday urged the international community to work together to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and warned against an increase in "self-centered nationalism," per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: He said at a remembrance service on the atomic bombing of the Japanese city that the 1918 flu pandemic killed millions as countries fighting in World War I were unable to overcome the threat together, per DPR. "A subsequent upsurge in nationalism led to World War II," he added. The U.S. bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 and Nagasaki three days later contributed to the end of World War II, but tens of thousands of people died. At the service, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lamented nuclear weapons' "inhumanity," but he didn't mention Japan's wartime past, WashPost noted.

Go deeper: How new tech raises the risk of nuclear war

LeBron James on Trump NBA protest remarks: "We could care less"

The Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James kneels during the national anthem before the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on Wednesday. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

LeBron James responded on Wednesday night to President Trump's comments calling NBA players "disgraceful" for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and that he won't watch games because of the action.

The big picture: Trump has repeatedly criticized sports players for taking the knee since 2016. But James said during a news conference, "I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game." November's elections marked "a big moment for us as Americans," he said. "If we continue to talk about, 'We want better, we want change,' we have an opportunity to do that," he added. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said the league will "respect peaceful protest."

Go deeper: LeBron James forms voting rights group to inspire Black voters