The head of multinational retail corporation wants Congress to do something about the federal minimum wage, but not everyone is fond of the company's approach.
Walmart has long been accused of paying too little in wages, and even though the company raised its starting wage to $11 an hour in 2018, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon recently took a moment at the annual shareholders meeting to call on legislators to increase the minimum wage.
"It's clear by our actions and those of other companies that the federal minimum wage ($7.25 an hour) is lagging behind," said McMillon. "Any plan should take into account phasing and cost of living differences to avoid unintended consequences," he added.
It was at this same shareholder meeting that Senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) said workers cannot live on "starvation wages."
Speaking about this on his radio program, Dan Celia of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries suggested that if Walmart has a problem with wages, then it can raise its own wages.
"Why are you waiting for the government to do it or urging the government to do it?" Celia questioned. "Walmart, by the way, is not on my list, as it is not biblically responsible."
Celia went on to warn that many small businesses and ministries would be put out of business by a significant increase in the minimum wage.
"I heard this guy --- it was almost comical --- on one of the financial networks indicating, Well, you know, it's not a living wage; people can't live on it. It's not meant to be," Celia continued. "It's meant to be a stepping stone."
Celia also warned that a much higher minimum wage could lead to automation. He noted that McDonald's, for example, has installed kiosks in many locations that allow customers to order from a machine, versus an employee.
Meanwhile, automation has already arrived at Walmart, with increased numbers of self-check-out stations. The company is also using robots to clean bathrooms and unload boxes, although Walmart claims those measures are intended to help workers focus more on customer service.