Costco raises the minimum wage above Amazon or Target to $16 an hour
(Reuters) – Costco Wholesale Corp is raising the minimum wage for its hourly staff to $16 starting next week, a dollar more than competitors Amazon.com Inc and Target Corp pay per hour.
The members-only retailer’s move comes as US President Joe Biden plans to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, and a week after rival Walmart Inc raised its hourly wage to a average of $15.
Costco CEO Craig Jelinek made the announcement at a US Senate Budget Committee hearing on workers’ wages at large companies.
“It takes a lot of time to interview, find employees, a lot of manpower involved just trying to hire individuals. We want people to stay with us,” Jelinek said, responding to Sen. Bernie Sanders, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee.
Issaquah, Washington-based Costco, which has more than 180,000 employees in the US, has seen a sales boom during the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers stocked their pantries.
The company, which raised hourly wages to $15 in 2019, also offered extra pay to workers during the virus outbreak.
“In my past experience, salaries don’t usually put people out of business, the way you run your business will put you out of business,” Jelinek said at the hearing.
Even as large corporations raise their hourly wages, many small businesses have opposed a $15 federal minimum wage, saying it would lead to job cuts and closures.