California Congressman Ro Khanna is calling on Walmart to put its workers before corporate profits.
Last fall, the Democratic lawmaker teamed up with Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to help co-write the “Stop Walmart Act.” The bill calls for raising employees’ pay to at least $15 per hour.
“Walmart can afford to raise wages, and raising wages to $15 for many people means they can get a place to live in and they can afford healthcare and they can afford to send their kids to school,” he said during a First on FOX Business interview with Liz Claman Wednesday.
“It’s clear by our actions and those of other companies that the federal minimum wage is lagging behind. $7.25 is too low. It’s time for Congress to put a thoughtful plan in place to increase the minimum wage,” he said during an annual shareholders meeting at its headquarters in Arkansas.
Khanna said he is encouraged by the Walmart CEO’s push for a wage increase.
“It’s about time that Doug McMillon and others advocate for increasing the minimum wage,” he said on “Countdown to the Closing Bell.” “But they need to do more.”
Sanders came face-to-face with Walmart’s corporate leadership during its annual shareholders meeting telling everyone in attendance that the retail giant should provide its workers with a “livable wage.”
“Walmart is the largest private employer in America and is owned by … the wealthiest family in the U.S.,” he said. “Despite the wealth of its owner, Walmart pays many of its employees starvation wages.”
Walmart was first to announce that it would raise its wages to $11 an hour after the passage of President Trump’s tax reform in 2018. The move signaled a good business practice by the retail conglomerate as the company stock price climbed from $94.84 in January 2018 to its current price of $104.42 a share.
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Other retailers such as Costco and Target are on the path toward increasing wages. Amazon has already adjusted its minimum wage to $15.
Khanna, who calls himself a progressive capitalist, said he advocates free enterprise so long as everyone who is working hard benefits from it.
“If Walmart follows [Amazon] it would be such an incredible message around this country to business leaders to say you can pay your workers well and still make profits,” he said.