Raising the Minimum Wage for Working Men and Women in California and the Rest of America

Wal-Mart Says ‘Looking’ at Support of Minimum Wage Raise

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), the largest private employer in the U.S., said it’s looking at supporting an increase in the federal minimum wage, breaking with business and industry groups that oppose such a measure.

Wal-Mart is weighing the impact of additional payroll costs against possibly attracting more consumer dollars to its stores, David Tovar, a company spokesman, said today in a telephone interview. Increasing the minimum wage means that some of the 140 million people who shop at the chain weekly would “now have additional income,” Tovar said.

In the mid-2000s, Wal-Mart backed an increase in the federal minimum wage that eventually took effect in 2007. Asked whether Wal-Mart would support another raise in the federal minimum wage, Tovar said: “That’s something we’re looking at. Whenever there’s debates, it’s not like we look once and make a decision. We look a few times from other angles.”

Related: Minimum Wage Job-Loss Report Is Cause for Republican Punt

President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats want to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25 an hour, saying that doing so would boost the economy and help bridge the gap in income equality. Most Republican lawmakers oppose any such measure, dubbing it a potential job killer. So does the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group of which Wal-Mart is a member. Wal-Mart’s current position on the issue is neutral, Tovar said.

• Category: National, Notable • Tags: Renee Dudley, Walmart