Five companies, representing more than 50,000 area employees, sent statements in response to MLK50’s living wage survey. Two didn’t answer any of the questions and three only answered some of the questions. (Read the survey results and about our methodology.)

Below are the complete statements as provided, in order of the the company’s number of employees. MLK50 did not confirm the accuracy of the information in these statements.


#1 of Memphis metro area’s 25 largest employers — 30,000 employees

“FedEx is committed to providing competitive pay and benefits to our team members, including comprehensive health care benefits for all employees.

We are confident that the pay and benefits package we provide is among the best locally and in our industry.

We are proud of our significant support of MLK50 events in Memphis and other cities as we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”


#8 of area’s 25 largest employers — 6,800 employees

“Thank you for the opportunity to share information about associate benefits and career opportunities at Walmart. We provide a great start with a ladder to more responsibility and higher pay and are proud to be an employer in Memphis. Below is the information you are seeking.


· Walmart has more than 41,000 associates in Tennessee, approximately 4,700 associates in the Memphis area.

· Early this year Walmart raised the starting wage to $11 an hour; associates can earn up to $24.70 an hour. In Tennessee, the average hourly wage for full-time hourly associates is $14.02.

· Walmart associates earn a cash bonus every quarter. In our last fiscal year, that totaled $29.9 million dollars in cash bonuses to Tennessee store associates.

· In addition to the quarterly cash bonuses, earlier this month, Walmart also gave a one-time bonus to all eligible full and part-time hourly associates in the U.S.; in Tennessee that one-time bonus totaled $11.2 million.

TRAINING: With our commitment to technology, training and lifelong learning, there are countless ways to establish and grow a career with Walmart.

· Our Walmart Academies training program provides hands-on learning for associates — more than 250,000 associates have completed this one-of-a-kind program.

· Our Pathways program provides a comprehensive training program for entry-level associates. Associates can complete Pathways in as little as 90 days and more than 380,000 have completed the program since its inception.

· 75% of Walmart store managers in Tennessee and nationwide started as hourly associates.


· We post our schedules 2½ weeks in advance where all associates can access it.

· In addition, this provides associates the ability to see open shifts if they want to pick up extra shifts and earn extra income.

· Walmart hires temporary associates to help during busy seasons, these jobs often lead to permanent positions.


Walmart provides extensive benefits to its associates:

· Health insurance to full-time associates and part-time associates who have worked an average of 30 hours/week over the past 12 months.

· Walmart offers health benefits starting at around $26 per pay period — roughly half the national average for single person coverage.

· Associates can start contributing to their 401(k) on their first day with the company. Walmart provides a 6% company match after one year on the job. (Full-time and part-time.)

· Walmart offers paid time off (PTO) that streamlines paid vacation, sick time, personal time and holiday time into one category. Hourly associates also have options to cash out some PTO at the end of the year.

· This year, Walmart expanded its parental and maternity leave policy, providing full-time hourly and salaried associates in the U.S. with ten weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave.

· Also this year, Walmart began offering financial assistance to associates adopting a child. The adoption benefit, available to both full-time hourly and salaried associates, will total $5,000 per child and may be used for expenses such as adoption agency fees, translation fees and legal or court costs.

· Walmart matches 15% of associate stock purchases up to $1,800 per plan year. (Full-time and part-time.)

· Walmart associates have a short-term disability plan at no cost. (Full time only)

· Walmart associates save 10% on regularly priced general merchandise, fresh fruits and vegetables at any Walmart store.

Baptist Memorial Health Care

#9 of area’s 25 largest employers — 6,647 employees

“Baptist Memorial Health Care is focused on improving the health and economic prosperity of everyone in our community. We invest heavily in education and jobs. One of our biggest investments is the Baptist College of Health Sciences in the Medical Center area of Midtown Memphis, which prepares hundreds of students every year for well-paying health care careers. In fact, a recent Memphis Business Journal study found that graduates of our college earn a higher income than the graduates of any other local college or university. Minorities represent 50 percent of our college’s population, and more than 90% of our students are women. Our Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation provides nearly $1 million in scholarships every year to help our students with their education expenses.

We also are focused on paying our team members a living wage, and we are looking at our career development, job growth and pay practices to help ensure we reach that goal. All full-time Baptist employees receive a full benefits package, and we have very few temporary jobs. All Baptist employees are compensated well above the minimum wage, and 98 percent earn more than the regionally benchmarked living wage.

During the past five years, Baptist has experienced significant growth. We have 32% more employees than we had four years ago. It is our privilege to provide quality jobs in partnership with the communities we serve, and we are proud to be one of Memphis’ largest employers.”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

#12 of area’s 25 largest employers — 4,479 employees

“St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is committed to paying competitive wages to attract, retain and motivate the best people to serve our mission of finding cures and saving children.”

Smith & Nephew Inc.

#25 of area’s 25 largest employers — 2,270 employees

“Smith & Nephew prides itself on its employment practices and offers employees attractive pay as well as other benefits and training.

However, as a global company, with multiple locations in the U.S. and many other countries, it does not disclose its remuneration structure at a country or site level unless required to by legislation as it views this information as commercially confidential.”

This story is brought to you by MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit reporting project on economic justice in Memphis. Support independent journalism by making a tax-deductible donation today. MLK50 is also supported by the Center for Community Change and the Surdna Foundation.