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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

Muslim families hope to reunite following Biden's travel ban repeal

Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Muslim Americans across the U.S. are celebrating President Biden's day-1 reversal of former President Trump's travel ban that targeted several Muslim-majority countries.

The big picture: The repeal of what many critics called the "Muslim ban" renews hope for thousands of families separated by Trump's order.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  4. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  5. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries.
  6. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Health

Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges from a still out-of-control pandemic and more contagious coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The longer American kids miss in-person schooling, the further they fall behind. But the uncertain state of the science on the role young children play in the pandemic continues to complicate efforts to reopen schools.

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