It probably comes as no surprise that Ralph Nader, a pioneer of consumer safety and a Green Party presidential candidate, finds income inequality nauseating, and on Monday he proved it when he wrote a scathing letter to Dollar General ‘s CEO Richard Dreiling calling for wage increases for the chain’s employees.
Several stories have been featured recently on Americans Against the Tea Party discussing wage labor disputes with companies such as Wal-Mart and McDonalds. Nader is now bringing attention to a lesser known chain of stores called Dollar General, and in his letter he called the treatment of the discount chain’s employees “Shameful”.
Nader wrote that “Low wages not only hurt workers: they hurt all taxpayers, too. When large, profitable corporations like Dollar General employ workers at shamefully low wages, employees are forced to resort to public assistance programs to provide their families with necessities. Thus taxpayers end up footing the bill for your company’s poverty wages.”
Nader continued that he had calculated that the CEO makes as much in a single day as the average employee of Dollar General earns in an entire year and according to the Wall Street Journal Dreiling’s pay package was $22.5 million in 2012, while the average wage for a Dollar Store associate and clerk was less than $8 per hour.
“For these reasons,” continued Nader in his letter “I hope you can dedicate yourself to ensuring that workers are paid a living wage and taxpayers are not subsidizing your profits. One important first step is for you to support an increase in the federal minimum wage. Costco’s CEO and President, Craig Jelinek, came out this summer in support of a minimum wage above $10 per hour. Costco’s starting wage is $11.50 per hour plus benefits. Surely you can do the same.”
Nader closed his letter by adding that Henry Ford’s business model relied heavily on increased wages and “provided his workers with enough pay that it allowed them to buy the same products that they were manufacturing.” Read the whole letter here.