Costco raising minimum wage to $16 an hour

Costco raising minimum wage to $16 an hour
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Costco CEO Craig Jelinek told a Senate panel Thursday that the wholesale retailer will increase its starting wage to $16 next week, putting it ahead of competitors like Walmart and Target.

"Two years ago, we moved our starting hourly wage to $15 everywhere in the US. Effective next week, the starting wage will go to $16,” Jelinek said in testimony Thursday before the Senate Budget Committee.

The chief executive noted that the majority of the retailer’s in-store workers make more than $25 per hour.


"We're certainly not perfect, but we try to take care of our employees, because they play such a significant role in our success," he said.

Ranking member Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamUS Chamber of Commerce comes out in support of bipartisan, bicameral immigration bill Joe Lieberman to push senators on DC statehood GOP sees immigration as path to regain power MORE (R-S.C.) questioned Jelinek on whether minimum wage increases would hurt businesses, asking “if you run a restaurant or hotel and nobody can travel in the country and seating capacity has been reduced by half or more, the revenues are down and can you understand why an increased mandate from the government in terms of cost would be a devastating blow?"

"I can't understand why it would be a devastating blow. I think it's a devastating blow to the employees,” Jelinek replied.

Responding to a similar line of questioning by Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold Johnson15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban 'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party Republicans fret over divisive candidates MORE (R-Wis.), Jelinek said "I can tell you in my past experience that wages usually don't put people out of business, how you run your business will put you out of business."

The testimony comes as Senate Democrats and President BidenJoe BidenBiden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies Overnight Defense: Top general concerned about Afghan forces after US troops leave | Pentagon chief: Climate crisis 'existential' threat to US national security | Army conducts review after 4 Black soldiers harassed at Virginia IHOP Feds expect to charge scores more in connection to Capitol riot MORE have both signaled a minimum wage increase to be a major legislative priority. The federal minimum wage last increased to $7.25 in 2009. Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime HarrisonJaime HarrisonDNC taps veteran campaign hands for communications staff DNC chair: We have to 'battle the damage to the Democratic brand' Democrats bet on stimulus bill to boost them in 2022 MORE praised Costco’s move on Twitter Thursday morning.