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Are ‘Stakeholder Capitalists’ Taking Care Of Their Own Workers?

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Big corporations have earned huge profits during the pandemic, but frontline retail workers typically earned a very small pay increase.

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On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, Molly Kinder, a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss her research into how big corporations such as Amazon and Walmart used their skyrocketing profits in the midst of the pandemic and whether their workers benefitted from the financial growth.

“These companies have earned extraordinary profits, but typically the retail workers that are on the frontlines risking their lives have earned a very small increase in money,” Kinder explained.

“In this unprecedented time where so many small businesses are shutting their doors, so many workers have lost their jobs and there’s so much economic pain,” Kinder continued, noting that much federal spending was directed at these companies through the stimulus bill and unemployment insurance. “These are some of the companies that you can say pretty clearly, they’re the sort of winners of the pandemic. They were profitable going in, but they’ve earned billions of dollars extra during and largely because of the pandemic.” 

While many big-box retailers ignored workers, Kinder outlined how some companies such as Best Buy, Target, Costco, and Home Depot did compensate their workers for their pandemic sacrifices and might have even created some positive permanent wage changes.

“They made extra profit, but they directed a lot of that profit to their workers,” Kinder said. “We found a pretty even balance between economic profits and pandemic pay. And that’s just a completely different story when you look at Amazon and Walmart.”

Read more of Kinder’s research and reports about corporations’ pandemic profits and spending here.