As if mega toilet rolls and fried chicken weren't enough to get members through the door, Costco
announced on Thursday that it would increase the base hourly pay for employees from $ 15 to $ 16 an hour, prompting customers to support the warehouse operator.
Around 180,000 U.S.-based Costco employees will earn $ 16 an hour starting next week, Costco CEO Craig Jelinek said Thursday at a Senate hearing on the minimum wage.
"It's not altruism," he said. "At Costco, we know that it makes sense for our company to pay employees well and provide affordable services, and that this is a significant competitive advantage for us."
Costco's announcement came about two years after the company paid its employees $ 15 an hour – matching Amazon
The company began paying employees $ 15 hourly wages in 2018.
The news spurred several Twitter
Users to express their support for the member-only chain.
“I thought I could expire my Costco membership since I moved and the nearest warehouse is now an hour away … but no. They do their workers right and I will happily drive an hour to support employers who support their employees, ”wrote one person.
Many others welcomed the company's move:
Others repeated Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) Call to Walmart on Thursday
the largest private employer in the country to follow Costco's lead.
The company hasn't increased its base employee wage by $ 11 an hour since 2018 – despite last week it announced it would offer half of its workforce, 730,000 employees, $ 15 an hour.
Walmart spokeswoman Anne Hatfield said "the average hourly wage for our US hourly workers is at least $ 15.25 an hour." She also told MarketWatch that "all of our warehouse workers make over $ 15 an hour".
The news from Costco came as Democratic lawmakers pushed for legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour by 2025. Republican senators, including South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, have raised concerns that small businesses cannot afford the increase in business costs.
Two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, are also opposed to raising the hourly minimum wage to $ 15.
"If we get $ 15 on the market now, it's very difficult in rural America. We have small businesses," Manchin told the Wall Street Journal this week.