Wal-Mart wage raise: Home run or not far enough?

Employees assist shoppers at the checkout counter of a Walmart store in Los Angeles.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Employees assist shoppers at the checkout counter of a Walmart store in Los Angeles.

Wal-Mart, the largest private employer in the United States, is raising the minimum wage to nine dollars an hour beginning April, then to ten dollars by February 2016.

More than 500,000 workers – or nearly 40 percent of its workforce - will get a pay raise of at least $1.75 above the Federal minimum wage.

Read MoreWal-Mart wage hike may be economy's missing link

But the debate rages on as to whether Wal-Mart's move to increase wages is enough, particularly in light of the rise in cost of living and how much money the company makes.

The move is "inadequate" and Wal-Mart still has a long way to go to help its workers, Tsedeye Gebreselassie, employment attorney with the National Employment Law Project, told CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Thursday.

National Employment Law Project is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research, education and advocacy on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers.

Gebreselassie also thinks Wal-Mart workers will demand more from the the retail giant "$16 billion in profits, 1.3 million employees. "Walmart workers have helped make the company one of the largest and most profitable corporations on Earth. I think they should, and will demand $15 dollars an hour. This is fair and a small price to pay to help its associates truly 'live better."

Retail industry watcher Jan Kniffen, CEO of Rogers Kniffen Worldwide, applauds the move, calling the wage boost is a "home run for Wal-Mart, workers and especially consumers."

"When prices go down" Kniffen continues, "They go down everywhere. "When wages go up at Wal-Mart, they go up everywhere. It's all great for the overall U.S. economy and retail industry, too."

Wal-Mart sets the tone for all the other discount retailers: Macy's, Kohl's, Target, JC Penney, Family Dollar, Dollar General and Dollar Tree. If they move to nine dollars, the competition will take notice, and likely move in that direction, too."