Costco will raise its minimum wage to $ 16 an hour starting next week, CEO Craig Jelinek said during a Senate Budget Committee hearing Thursday.
“Since Costco’s inception, the company has been committed to paying employees very competitive retail salaries and providing them with comprehensive and affordable health care benefits,” said Jelinek. “Two years ago, we changed our starting hourly wage to $ 15 everywhere in the United States. Starting next week, the starting wage will be $ 16.”
LAWSUIT REVEALS A MINIMUM WAGE BILL OF $ 15, SAY THEY CAN USE THE SETTLEMENT TO APPROVE THE LEGISLATION
“It is important to us that Costco employees have the opportunity to earn more than $ 15 or $ 16 an hour. Costco employees receive regular raises for hours worked,” he said.
The $ 16 an hour raise puts their starting wages above Target and Amazon. Target implemented a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour in July, while Amazon raised its minimum wage to $ 15 in 2018.
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Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Presided over the Senate Budget Committee hearing titled “Should Taxpayers Subsidize Poverty Wages in Profitable Large Corporations?” He said he invited Walmart CEO Doug McMillon to testify, but he refused.
|COST||COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION||336.69||-4.01||-1.18%|
“Why should workers be subsidizing some of America’s wealthiest families and largest corporations because of the starvation wages they pay their workers?” Sanders said, and praised Target and Costco for increasing their starting salaries. “If Walmart thinks they will avoid answering that question because they didn’t show up today, they are deeply wrong.”
Walmart’s starting salary is $ 11 per hour.
“We believe that the level of experience and loyalty of our employees is a significant advantage for our company,” said Jelinek. “Costco is what I know. I am not an economist, a regulator or a legislator, and I do not pretend to know the methods or models that are suitable for other large or small companies in other industries.”
Senior Senate Budget Committee member Senator Lindsey Graham, RS.C., compared the multi-billion dollar company Costco to that of small businesses.
“My concern is not really about Costco … because it can absorb an increase in cost. I am concerned about the small business owner who is struggling because COVID has reduced their ability to earn a living. Do you understand where I am coming from? ” he asked Jelinek. “Can you understand why an increase in the government’s mandate in terms of cost would be a devastating blow?”
“No, I cannot understand why it would be a devastating blow,” replied the CEO.
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“Can you understand why a restaurant in South Carolina that has half its seating capacity due to COVID, barely holding on, would it be devastating for them to increase their costs in terms of doubling the minimum wage?” Graham said.
“I don’t know if he was suggesting doubling the minimum wage,” Jelinek said. “My opinion is that I am not here to discuss a proposal.”