Walmart CEO Says Wage Hike Should Consider Regional Economics

Labor News

Reprinted from The Washington Post by Jonathan Roeder and Ben Brody on January 19, 2021.

Walmart Inc. Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said the US needs to confront its health and economic crises — but added he doesn’t support a universal $15 minimum wage.

President-elect Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour from the current level of $7.25, which is “too low,” McMillon said during a media briefing with Business Roundtable CEO Josh Bolten. But instead of setting a uniform nationwide level, McMillon called for a higher wage that takes into account “geographic differences” and “small business.” Congress should find the “right pace” for wage increases, said McMillon, who is serving as chairman of Business Roundtable.

As the world’s largest retailer and an employer of 1.5 million workers in the US alone, Walmart’s CEO is closely watched in the retail world and beyond when it comes to labor practices and corporate decision-making. The company has increased its minimum wage in recent years amid criticism from labor activists, but it remains short of the $15 threshold and still lags that of competitors such as Target Corp. and Inc. …

Washington Post 1/19

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Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at