Money & The Economy

Costco Raises Minimum Wage To $16, But Won’t Advocate For All Businesses To Follow

Costco will raise its company-wide minimum wage to $16 per hour, a one-dollar increase that raises its wages higher than its fellow big-box retailers, the company’s CEO said during a congressional hearing Thursday.

Costco plans to raise its minimum wage from $15 to $16 because it is committed to paying workers “very competitive retail wages,” CEO Craig Jelinek said during a Senate Budget Committee hearing Thursday. Jelinek stopped short of advocating in favor of a federal minimum wage overhaul, instead saying he was solely focused on Costco.

“Costco is what I know. I’m not an economist, regulator or legislator, and I don’t pretend to know what methods or models are right for any other large or small companies or any other industries,” Jelinek said during his testimony. “But I do know what is right for Costco.”

“We’re certainly not perfect, but we try to take care of our employees, because they play such a significant role in our success,” Jelinek said.


Corporations including McDonald’s, Walmart, FacebookTargetWells FargoBank of AmericaJP Morgan and Google have all announced support for a higher minimum wage since 2019, increasing their own wages in the process. Costco raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour in 2019, Jelinek said Thursday.

Amazon went further than other corporations in 2018, pledging to actively lobby Congress to increase the minimum wage while increasing its own companywide minimum wage to $15 per hour.

“During the last congressional session, Amazon advocated for the previous version of the Raise the Wage Act, which passed in the House but stalled in the Senate,” Senior Vice President of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs Jay Carney, who was White House press secretary under former President Barack Obama, wrote in a recent blog post.

“We will continue our advocacy this Congress,” he added.

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