Costco backs minimum wage increase

WASHINGTON — Club retailer Costco Wholesale is throwing its support behind a bill introduced in Congress Tuesday to raise the federal minimum wage.

Business for a Minimum Wage, a Washington-based nonprofit group, said that Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco was among the many companies and other businesses that supported the increase. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., would raise the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 per hour to $10.10 and provide annual increases linked to increases in the cost of living.

"At Costco, we know that paying employees good wages makes good sense for business," Costco president and CEO Craig Jelinek said in a statement on behalf of the nonprofit group. "We pay a starting hourly wage of $11.50 in all states where we do business, and we are still able to keep our overhead costs low. An important reason for the success of Costco's business model is the attraction and retention of great employees. Instead of minimizing wages, we know it's a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty. We support efforts to increase the federal minimum wage."