On March 1, Walmart announced that it’s giving the Waltons a raise. The company will be increasing its dividend again, as it has every year since 1974. The dividend for the coming year will be $1.59 per Walmart share, a 9% increase from last year. That might not sound like a lot, but the Waltons own about 1.7 billion shares in Walmart, so they stand to take home over $2.7 billion in Walmart dividends over the coming year, potentially adding millions to their political war chest and donations to right-wing causes.
Dividends are voted on by the board of directors and are a way for companies to offer some of their profits to investors and, in the case of stable companies, to offer something to investors in place of a moving stock price. Walmart recently ended their fiscal year, and in a pre-recorded call for analysts and investors, the company cited the $5 billion in dividends that it paid investors last year as an example of their “strong returns.”
But what about the Walmart associates? The company has no plans to share the wealth with them. Instead, they’re still making an average of $8.81/hr, just $15,500/yr for full-time employees. On top of that, in the past year, Walmart has slashed healthcare for part time employees and raised premiums for many others. Over the years, Walmart has often found itself at the top of the list of employers with the most employees receiving tax payer-financed health insurance in states across the country. Good times for Walmart means $2.7 billion in dividends for the Walton family and continued food stamps for many Walmart associates.