Starbucks joins a list of companies in the U.S. that are offering a decent living wage. A number of corporations have made the decision on what their employees make and not waiting around for Congress to decide for them.
Advocates to raise the minimum wage claim a boost would help families and may contrast the income gap in America. There are critics who fear it would cause prices to jump and lead to job losses. Next year several large companies plan to dish out more money to employees claiming better pay will keep employees for the long haul.
Back in March, Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz said he supported raising the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour. The average employee at Starbucks makes $9.32 an hour. The company currently employs 200,000 people. Schultz also said in March, “I do not think it would change the price of a customers cup of coffee.”
More companies are starting to offer decent wages and Starbucks joining that list tells it’s employees that they matter. Walmart chief executive, Douglas McMillion said on Wednesday that Walmart would start paying it’s employees an above minimum wage as well. There is no word on when the company would start offering the increased pay. Walmart employs 1.3 million people in America. Brooke Buchanan, a Walmart spokeswomen said, “Around 6,000 of their employees are currently making minimum wage.”
The Gap was praised earlier this year when it announced the company would start paying it’s employees an hourly rate of $10.00 starting next year. In February the company bumped employees to $9.00 an hour. Art Peck, Gap Inc’s new CEO, said the increase reflects what is expected of the companies employees. Paying higher wages improves recruitment and retention.
Ikea also raised their minimum wage in America. Instead of setting a fixed amount across the board, the company decided to look at the location of their 38 stores in the U.S. and base the amount on what it what it costs to live in each local area. The company has used information from a living wage calculator that Massachusetts Institute of Technology created. It lets users find out how much it cost to live based on any location in the U.S.
Starbucks also stated that employees will get a free food item during their working shift. Earlier this year the company paired up with Arizona State University to offer a generous discount on online classes. Though the tuitions benefits are only offered to employees in the U.S., Cliff Burrows, head of Americas for Starbucks, said the company plans to offer something similar overseas.
Minimum wage has become a national debate in the U.S. Many companies are feeling backlash from the public. McDonald’s employees have held protests and walk-outs throughout the country in the name of higher pay. Workers at fast food restaurants are demanding 15 dollars an hour. The movement is growing. Seattle, Washington announced that by 2018 they would raise the the minimum wage to $15. Next Month Los Angels is looking at a similar proposal. With more companies like Starbucks joining the decent wage list and offering better pay, companies like McDonald’s might have to come terms with offering a higher wage.
By Paul Sears
Photo by Marco Paköeningrat – Flickr License