Walmart “Looking At” Support Of Minimum Wage Increase

With much talk in the news these days about whether or not to raise the minimum wage, the nation’s largest private employer said today that it is considering throwing its support behind a plan to increase pay nationwide to at least $10.10/hour.

Why would the retail behemoth possibly be in favor the additional $2.85/hour? Because it could mean more spending money in the pockets of Walmart shoppers, a rep for the company explained to Bloomberg earlier today.

“That’s something we’re looking at,” explained the rep while maintaining that the company currently has a neutral view on the issue. “Whenever there’s debates, it’s not like we look once and make a decision. We look a few times from other angles.”

If Walmart did throw its weight behind the President’s proposal, it wouldn’t be the first time that Walmart backed a federal minimum wage hike. About 10 years ago, the retailer came out in support of a pay increase that eventually went into effect in 2007.

However, a pro-increase stance from Walmart would be in opposition to that of many other major retailers and the National Retail Foundation, which has said that the additional pay would result in fewer jobs for Americans.

The Walmart news comes on the heels of a Congressional Budget Office report that weighed the pros and cons of the possible wage increase. It could mean improved pay for more than 16 million Americans, but it could also result in the loss of upwards of 500,000 jobs.

But the Walmart rep says the math isn’t so cut and dry, and that consumer behavior isn’t always so predictable. He points to the retailer’s recent swing-and-miss on the issue of food stamps.

Walmart had predicted that cuts to that program in 2013 would have resulted in a sales bump for Walmart as shoppers looked for an affordable place to buy groceries, but that prediction didn’t pan out as expected.

Just last summer, Walmart successfully convinced Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray to veto a city law that would have increased wages for workers at D.C. Walmart stores (and other national big box retailers) to $12.50 an hour.

The rep says the difference between that failed legislation and the possible federal wage hike is that the D.C. law only applied to certain types and sizes of stores, while a general minimum wage increase would apply to workers everywhere, regardless of their employers.

Among large retailers, one of the few to openly support a wage increase is Costco, whose CEO Craig Jelinek said a year ago that “paying employees good wages makes good sense for business.”

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  1. furiousd says:

    Is it really even necessary to have minimum wage laws anymore? When I wanted a raise from my boss, I went to him and asked for a performance review and arranged for a raise pending improvements on the items he indicated that he would like to see improved within the three months following our first meeting. He doesn’t want me to leave for another job and I wanted a reasonable raise given the work I do and my value to the company. Nice, easy process and I didn’t try to use the government to force my boss to pay me more.

    • SingleMaltGeek says:

      You know, not everyone is nearly as smart or as capable as you or I. Does that mean they don’t deserve a wage with which they can afford rent, food, medical care, and maybe even an occasional small luxury? It’s called a living wage, and there are decades of research showing that it’s far above the current minimum wage.

      • CzarChasm says:

        Assuming that a “minimum wage” was the same as a “living wage” was even something that could be defined, economics suggests it is not even remotely possible.

        Your implication that people “deserve” something simply for being born makes me laugh though.

        • SingleMaltGeek says:

          Your implication that anyone born doesn’t deserve food, clothing, shelter, or medical care makes me want to cry for you.