In Rare Show of Approval, President Obama Praises Walmart
Walmart has been under pressure from its employees in recent years over the issue of wages and benefits. The company has eliminated its popular health care plan for part-time employees under 30 hours a week. It has also been reluctant to increase wages despite being a very profitable business. Employees have gone on strike during the Black Friday sales events in recent years charging that the Walton family’s $150 billion net worth is proof they can afford to pay better wages to their employees.
It now appears that they efforts are having a positive effect. Walmart’s CEO announced the company will raise its wage for part-time employees to $1.75/hr above the federal minimum wage. The change will be implemented in two phases, but Catalyst Five suggested when fully completed will have employees earning at least $10/hr. It should be noted that Walmart employees have been demanding an average wage of $15/hr which would be ~$31,000/yr.
Still, President Obama praised the company for increasing the wages of its workers. In the past, he has been sharply critical of the company for paying meager wages to its employees while making record profits. He pointed out the large profit margins were proof the company could easily afford to pay better wages to its workers without impacting its bottom-line. Other companies are now following Walmart’s lead which may be to make a concession on wages in the hopes of avoiding a more substantial federal increase in the minimum wage.