Costco raises its minimum wage to $16 an hour

By , WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) Some Costco workers across the U.S. will be getting a raise, beginning next week.

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek said during a congressional hearing on Thursday that the starting rate for hourly Costco store workers is going up to $16 an hour. That's $1 per hour more than the minimum wage paid by competitors Amazon, Target and Walmart.

"We try to take care of our employees because they play such a significant role in our success," Jelinek said, speaking during a U.S. Senate Budget Committee hearing regarding wages at large corporations on Capitol Hill in Washington.

"I want to note this isn't altruism," he added. "At Costco we know that paying employees good wages... makes sense for our business and constitutes a significant competitive advantage for us. It helps us in the long run by minimizing turnover and maximizing employee productivity."

Executives at Costco Wholesale Corp., which operates the popular chain of membership-only warehouse clubs, say many workers already make more than $16 an hour, as their average pay for hourly workers is about $24 an hour.

One of the nation's biggest retailers, Costco has 558 clubs in 45 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico — including more than a dozen in Michigan.

This news comes as it seems to U.S. is closer than ever to a bump in the federal minimum wage, as high as $15 an hour under the Biden Administration.

While the hefty increase could lift many working Americans out of poverty, it could also lead to job cuts, according to the a recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The current federal minimum wage is only $7.25 an hour.

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