Just 24 hours after Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from $7.25 would deal a “devastating blow to the very people that need help most,” Gap Inc. announced it would raise employees’ minimum pay to $10 per hour by next year.
In striking contrast to the alarms sounded by McConnell, Gap chief executive officer Glenn Murphy emphasized the benefits of this pay raise for the company’s lowest-paid workers. He described it as a “strategic investment to do more for our employees” — one that will help “attract and retain a skilled, enthusiastic and engaged workforce.”
If there’s a lesson in the recent tug-of-war over the Congressional Budget Office’s report estimating the impact of a federal minimum wage increase, it’s that despite the dire predictions made by opponents of raising the minimum wage, many CEOs have already seen that higher wages are good for business.
For other major retailers have echoed Gap’s rationale. Costco, which supports Obama’s call for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, starts its entry-level employees at $11.50 per hour. This is significantly more than its closest competitor, Sam’s Club, which is owned by Wal-Mart. Costco also has almost double the sales per employee compared to Sam’s Club.
Similarly, the starting wage for full-time employees at the grocery retailer Trader Joe’s is between $40,000 and $60,000 per year — more than twice what many of its competitors pay. The sales revenue per square foot at Trader Joe’s is three times higher than the average U.S. supermarket.