Battle for $15: US retailer Costco raises its hourly wage to $16 | Coronavirus pandemic Information

The majority of Americans support the idea of ​​more than doubling the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour, according to a new Reuters / Ipsos poll.

Costco Wholesale Corp is raising the minimum wage for its hourly workers to $ 16 starting next week, one dollar more hourly than competitors Inc and Target Corp and more than double the current US hourly minimum wage of US $ 7.25 -Dollar.

The retailer’s membership-only move comes as U.S. 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 wages to an average of $ 15.

Craig Jelinek, Costco’s chief executive officer, made the announcement at a US Senate Budget Committee hearing on wages for workers in large corporations.

“It takes a lot of time to do an interview, find employees, and do a lot of work just to hire individuals. We want people to stay with us, ”replied Jelinek Senator Bernie Sanders, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee.

The majority of Americans support the idea of ​​more than doubling the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour. A new poll by Reuters News Agency / Ipsos found that 59 percent of respondents supported the idea and 34 percent were against it.

A man holds up a minimum wage sign at a fast food workers and supporters rally in Los Angeles, California, United States [File: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters]Fifty-five percent of respondents said that “a rise in the minimum wage should lift some families out of poverty, but government economists also expect it could eliminate some low-income jobs, potentially making some families worse off” .

About 40 percent of American adults said they would benefit – either personally or through a family member – if the US raised the federal minimum wage.

Costco is based in Issaquah, Washington state, and employs over 180,000 people in the United States. The retailer saw a sales boom during the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers replenished their pantries.

The company, which increased the hourly wage to $ 15 per hour in 2019, also offered bonus payments to workers during the virus outbreak.

“In my past experience, wages don’t usually put people out of business. How you run your business will put you out of business, ”said Jelinek at the hearing.

As large companies increase their hourly wages, many small businesses opposed a $ 15 minimum wage, saying it would lead to downsizing and job closure.

The minimum wage debate is also part of wider negotiations on the next round of US coronavirus aid. Senate Democrats are currently awaiting a decision on whether to include the $ 15-per-hour measure in the proposed $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 auxiliary bill.

Democrats, who tightly control the House of Representatives and Senate, are trying to get progressive politics off the ground without Republican votes through a maneuver known as reconciliation that allows them to get by with just a simple 51-vote majority instead of the normal 60-vote majority the Chamber to act requirement.

The Senate MP is expected to decide Thursday whether the legislation will allow lawmakers to use the Coronavirus Spending Act to pass comprehensive wage policy.

Even if Senate MP Elizabeth MacDonough decides that the minimum wage can be passed through reconciliation, that does not change the fact that the Senate proposal faces an uphill battle.

Democrats disagree, two of them – Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona – are against the idea.

There is broader support in the Senate for raising the minimum wage by a smaller amount rather than through reconciliation.

On Tuesday, two Senate Republicans, Tom Cotton and Mitt Romney, proposed raising the minimum wage to $ 10 an hour.

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