Costco has about 180,000 American employees and 90% of them work hourly. He will raise his minimum wage to $ 16 starting next week, Chief Executive Craig Jelinek said at a U.S. Senate Budget Committee hearing on wages for workers at large companies on Thursday.
The move comes as Democrats in Congress seek to rally support for a federal minimum wage of $ 15. Senator Bernie Sanders is the driving force behind Congress’s current push to increase the federal minimum wage, introducing a bill this month. passed to increase it to $ 15 by 2025. President Joe Biden has also endorsed a $ 15 minimum wage. The federal minimum wage has remained at $ 7.25 an hour since 2009, but a growing number of cities and states are increasing your minimum wage.
Costco (COST), based in Issaquah, Washington, raised its minimum wage to $ 14 in 2018 and $ 15 in 2019. The company says that 20% of its hourly employees earn minimum wage.
More retailers and chain restaurants have also moved to a minimum rate of $ 15 an hour. Amazon (AMZN) raised his starting salary to $ 15 in 2018, while Aim (TGT) Y Best Buy (BBY) increased its lows to $ 15 last year. Walmart (WMT), America’s largest retailer, has a minimum wage of $ 11 and said last week that it planned to raise the salary of about 425,000 employees, a quarter of its workforce, to at least $ 13 an hour.
Arindrajit Dube, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who studies the minimum wage, said Costco’s move would pressure rival employers like Amazon to match its $ 16 minimum.
Although some businesses have moved to $ 15 an hour or more, many business leaders are opposed to a federal minimum wage of $ 15. Some employers, especially small businesses, have fought raising the minimum wage to $ 15, saying that it could lead to layoffs and even closures.
In a letter to congressional leaders Wednesday, the Business Roundtable suggested for the first time that raising the minimum wage should be linked to progress in defeating the coronavirus pandemic.
Also Wednesday, Matthew Shay, president of the National Federation of Retailers, a pressure group for retailers, said in a call with reporters that “it doesn’t make sense that the federal government is in the business of dictating wages in an economy like as wide and diverse in scope as this is … Better to let market conditions dictate “wages.”
—Tami Luhby and Matt Egan of CNN contributed to this article.