To: McDonalds CEO Don Thompson, Walmart CEO Michael Duke

McDonalds and Walmart: Pay your employees a decent wage

Your typical employee is still not earning a decent wage. Most are adults, responsible for bringing in half their family's income. You can easily afford to pay them $15 an hour without causing layoffs or requiring price hikes. Your shareholders and executives are doing spectacularly well.

Why is this important?

These two companies are among the biggest employers of low-wage workers in America, and they can easily afford to give their workers a raise -- a perfect way to celebrate Labor Day week.

McDonald's posted strong results during the recession by attracting cash-strapped customers, and its sales have continued to rise. Between 2010 and 2012, its annual return to investors was 15.7 percent, far better than the Dow Jones industrial average. McDonald's CEO, Steve Easterbrook, gets a big-whopper of a compensation package, valued at $7.9 million—about 400 times the earnings of a typical McDonald's worker, who earns roughly $10 an hour or less.

Walmart, the nation's largest employer, also continues to do well—so well, it's hiking shareholder dividends 18 percent this year. It also pays its executives handsomely. Total compensation of Walmart's CEO, Doug McMillon, is now $25.6 million—more than 1,300 times the earnings of a typical Walmart worker, who earns $22,591 per year. Not incidentally, the wealth of the Walton family—which still owns the lion's share of Walmart stock—now exceeds the wealth of the bottom 40 percent of American families combined, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

So please join me in asking McDonald's Steve Easterbrook and Walmart's Doug McMillon to pay their workers at least $15 an hour.