Costco raised its minimum wage to $17 an hour

·2 min read

Costco raised its minimum starting wages to $17 an hour this week. The move comes less than a year after the company raised wages to $16 an hour, its first pay increase since 2019 when the starting rate was $15/hour.

According to the October 19 memo from Craig Jelinek, president and CEO of Costco, emailed to TODAY Food, starting salaries increased across job titles in the retailer's stores.

"Effective October 25, 2021, we will adjust the starting hourly wages for new employees in the U.S. to $17.00/hour for Service Assistants, $18.00/hour for Service Clerks and $18.50/hour for Meat Cutters," read the memo. "Current U.S. employees making less than these rates will be moved up to these rates on their scales, and their goal hours will be reset. Please contact your GM or Payroll Clerk with any questions."

Costco said the move was spurred on by a need to keep their pay competitive in today's job market.

"These increases are part of Costco’s continuing efforts to ensure our hourly wages remain extremely competitive in the retail industry. We remain proud to be able to pay employees well and provide excellent benefits. As in the past, we will review hourly wage scales in connection with the upcoming Employee Agreement."

Related: "You know you need this. Don't even act like you don't."

The memo ended with Jelinek thanking Costco employees for all they do to make Costco a great company.

As service industry and retail workers bear the hardship of working jobs made all the more difficult by the pandemic, companies across the U.S. have been forced to reconsider the wages they pay — and the federal minimum wage which has been a hot topic since President Joe Biden brought the issue to the forefront. Today, Starbucks announced they would raise their minimum salary to $15 across the U.S.

Companies like Costco are also seeking to gain an edge in what has become an incredibly tight job market with many workers fed up with low wages and poor treatment by the public.

According to Business Insider, Costco has a good reputation with workers who receive paid vacation and in many cases, healthcare. The average tenure of a Costco employee is about nine years and more than half of employees earn over $25/hour.

Most recently, the warehouse chain brought back purchase limits on items such as toilet paper, paper towels, bottled water and some high-demand cleaning products. The move was in response to supply chain issues including shipping delays and a truck driver shortage as Costco tries to keep shelves stocked for its members.

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