President Obama believes opponents of a minimum-wage hike should pay a visit to their local Costco and witness firsthand the benefits of higher salaries.
During his first stop on a post-State of the Union swing through four states, the president lauded Costco for paying its workers an average hourly wage of more than $20 and a starting salary of about $11.50 — far above the current U.S. minimum wage of $7.25.
“Costco’s commitment to fairness doesn’t stop at the checkout counter. It extends down the supply chain,” Mr. Obama said during a speech at the chain’s Lanham, Md., location. “You can just tell people [working at Costco] feel good about their job. They feel good about the company. You have a good atmosphere. The managers and people all take pride in what you do.”
While pushing legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for all American workers, Mr. Obama also praised Costco founder Jim Sinegal as a “great friend” and an example for other business leaders.
Mr. Sinegal also has been a major campaign contributor to the president. In the 2012 cycle, he gave the maximum of $35,800 to Mr. Obama’s campaign and also made contributions to the Democratic National Committee.
Following the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday, in which he focused on growing income inequality in America and pushed a minimum-wage hike as one way to address it, Mr. Obama called on business leaders like Mr. Sinegal and political allies in states across the nation to help in the effort.
“If you want to take the initiative to raise your minimum-wage laws to help more hard-working Americans make ends meet, then I’m going to be right there at your side,” Mr. Obama said. “While Congress decides whether it’s going to raise the minimum wage or not, people outside Washington are not waiting for Congress and I’m not either. As chief executive, I’m going to lead by example.”
During his address Tuesday, Mr. Obama announced he’ll sign an executive order raising the minimum wage for all federal contracts to $10.10, part of the broader “year of action” he’s promised in 2014.