Obama Praises Walmart CEO for Wage Hike

REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Barack Obama, pleased that Walmart CEO Doug McMillon raised the wages of his employees, called the CEO from Air Force One on Wednesday to praise the decision. Obama was en route to Miami, where a town hall meeting was scheduled to discuss immigration.

McMillon had announced recently that Walmart would increase the hourly wage of half a million employees to “at least $9 an hour by April and at least $10 by next February.” TJX Cos, the owner of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods stores followed suit by announcing they would “increase pay for its U.S. workers to at least $9 an hour starting in June.”

The White House stated that “[s]eventeen states, as well as cities and corporations, ‘have acted to make a meaningful difference in the lives of seven million Americans since the president’s call to raise the federal minimum wage in his 2013 State of the Union.'”

John Challenger, CEO of a global outplacement firm, said, “Other retailers may have no other choice but to follow. The pool of available labor is starting to shrink and it will take more than a store discount to attract the best of available candidates.”

Obama has certainly evolved vis-à-vis Walmart; debating Hillary Clinton in 2008, he barked at her: “…while I was working on those streets watching those folks see their jobs shift overseas, you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart.”