President Biden met with business leaders at the White House on Tuesday as part of his push to rally support for the $1.9 trillion pandemic package being debated in Congress and his plan to raise the minimum wage.
Mr. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with the chief executives of Walmart, Gap, Lowe’s and JPMorgan Chase, as well as Thomas J. Donohue, the outgoing head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Over the course of about 90 minutes, the group discussed the minimum wage, expanding the use of earned-income tax credits, and other ways to help stimulate the economy, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation.
Mr. Biden spoke for about 15 minutes about his stimulus plan and concerns for the economy before turning to the business leaders for input, the person said.
Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, raised the idea of an augmented earned-income tax credit, which could help boost pay for people with lower earnings, the person said. He also talked about how the lack of clear policy plans in Washington in recent years on immigration, infrastructure and education had in his view stymied economic health, added the person.
Gap’s chief executive, Sonia Syngal, spoke about how the pandemic has affected the large numbers of women and people of color who work in retail, a spokesperson for the company said.
The idea of an across-the-board minimum wage increase to $15 an hour — championed by Democrats — faces opposition from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and at least one of the chief executives invited to the event has also urged a slower, more targeted increase. Doug McMillon of Walmart has said that he believes $7.25 is too low but that any plan should take into account “geographic differences.”
Such a move would not happen right away, if at all. Mr. Biden and Democratic leaders have already committed to not raise the wage until the pandemic has subsided. It also faces significant headway from Republicans, who say it will force small businesses to fire workers and could put some out of business.
But Mr. Biden and his allies in Congress see as a central weapon for fighting poverty and inequality.
A report by the Congressional Budget Office on Monday found evidence that both sides cited in support of their arguments: a $15 minimum wage would offer raises to 27 million people and lift 900,000 people above the poverty line, but it would also cost 1.4 million jobs, the budget office concluded.
Here are the chief executives who were invited to the event on Tuesday:
Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase
Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Doug McMillon of Walmart
Sonia Syngal of Gap Inc.
Marvin R. Ellison of Lowe’s Companies
Sapna Maheshwari contributed reporting.
Salesforce, the business software giant and San Francisco’s largest employer, said on Tuesday that it would allow most of its employees to permanently work remotely on a full- or part-time basis.
The company, which has 54,000 employees, said most workers would visit the office one to three days a week for meetings and collaborative work. A small population will work from the office four or five days a week, and other Salesforce workers who don’t live nearby or need an office will be fully remote.
Tech companies have been at the forefront of permanent work-from-home policies. In May, Facebook was one of the first to announce that it would allow many employees to work remotely even after the pandemic. Twitter, Coinbase, Shopify and Microsoft have followed suit.
Salesforce said in December it would buy the workplace chat app Slack. Over the summer, as Salesforce and other companies toyed with the idea of returning to the office, Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s chief executive, seemed to acknowledge that office work would be permanently changed.
“I just feel very strongly that we have the ability to do something very powerfully here and to motivate this new workplace, just like we did in the prior workplace,” Mr. Benioff said at the time. “Technology is actually going to become a critical part of managing our workplace, where before it was not part of our culture.”
Salesforce said it planned…
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