The last time Congress passed a minimum wage increase, Wal-Mart’s chief executive at the time seemed to lead the way.
“The U.S. minimum wage of $5.15 an hour has not been raised in nearly a decade, and we believe it is out of date with the times,” then-chief executive H. Lee Scott Jr. said in a 2005 speech to company executives that connected low wages to troubles for the retailer’s patrons. “Our customers simply don’t have the money to buy basic necessities between paychecks.”
Two years later, Congress approved raising the rate to the current level of $7.25 an hour.
Now that President Obama has proposed raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour, however, the retailing behemoth is more reticent. The company has not yet taken a position on the issue, a spokesman said.
“At this point, we are still reviewing a number of President Obama’s proposals from the State of the Union speech,” the Wal-Mart spokesman said.