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Logo on a Gap store.

One major U.S. retailer isn't waiting for Congress to raise the minimum wage. Gap Inc. is going a few steps down the path of companies like Costco, Trader Joe's, and In-N-Out that pay above-minimum wages in low-wage industries. Gap will be raising wages for workers at all its brands, including Banana Republic and Old Navy, to $9 an hour in 2014 and $10 in 2015, a change that will give about 65,000 workers a raise.

Currently, the highest state minimum wage is $9.32 per hour in Washington; Washington, DC, is in the process of raising its minimum wage to $11.50 in 2016. The federal minimum wage is stuck at $7.25, with workers waiting for their first raise since 2009 and congressional Republicans still blocking the legislation. But Gap's CEO Glenn Murphy described it as a business decision. He:

... pointedly avoided any discussion of the political or moral arguments about economic inequality that often animate the debate. “To us this is not a political issue,” Murphy said. “Our decision to invest in our frontline employees will directly support our business, and is one that we expect to deliver a return many times over.”
That's an argument that companies like Costco embrace in paying substantially better wages than Gap's planned $10, which amounts to, on the one hand, less than $21,000 a year for a full-time worker but, on the other hand, more than $5,000 a year over the federal minimum wage for the same full-time worker. In 2012, Apple similarly gave workers in its stores a big raise. Now if Congress would just raise the minimum wage and Gap would sign a binding safety accord for manufacturing in Bangladesh.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 04:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Even glacial change (0+ / 0-)

    is good -

  •  Guess one good thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Teabaggers will be avoiding them now (assuming they weren't already) since it's clear that the "leftists got to them"

  •  In this case . .. . (0+ / 0-)
    “Our decision to invest in our frontline employees will directly support our business, and is one that we expect to deliver a return many times over.
    the raise seems a tad timid.

    Why not bump it up to $15/hr or so - you know, that'd make the "many times over" thing even more beneficial I'd think.

    Of course at some point the returns would diminish, but I'm thinking that'd be at well above $9/hr

    •  I was actually shocked that they (0+ / 0-)

      weren't paid in the $12 range already.

      New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

      by AlexDrew on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 11:43:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "INVEST IN OUR EMPLOYEES." What a concept! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Standard learning these days is that corporations have no obligations whatever to employees, only to share owners and for them, only to maximize their investment.

    Gone, long gone, is the notion that employees are a vital part of the business, important if not critical to its success, and worthy of being invested in ... for the good of the enterprise.

    Welcome back, Gap and CostCo and In-N-Out and, apparently, Apple!

    2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 07:37:11 PM PST

  •  Washington may go higher than $9.32 if Governor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elizaveta, virginislandsguy

    Inslee get his way.

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 07:47:24 PM PST

  •  A living wage should mean (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that you can support yourself and your family and afford to shop where you work. I find the Gap to be a bit pricey, so I'm not sure $10/hr would leave much left over to shop for clothes in that establishment.

    Maybe for a young single person without a lot of obligations or someone with a partner who also works, but no kids.

    When it comes to clothes, I go second hand regardless of our financial status, so maybe I'm not the best judge of prices.

  •  65K people is not nothing but its just a drop (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the ocean. If we really wanted to give Americans a raise, then we should suspend the worst and most regressive tax in the whole country, FICA. At least until  we get back to full employment.

    A raise for 65K redistributes a few million dollars around, again definitely a positive.

    But a raise worth $1.2 Trillion for 100 million people is End This Depression Now worthy

    "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

    by Auburn Parks on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 07:59:57 PM PST

    •  FICA is the tax that pays into SS (0+ / 0-)

      by suspending it, you shortchange SS, likely for many years. we have not been at full employment- which is pegged  at about 4% unemployment, for many years. if you stop paying fica, that could very well kill the program. not a good idea AT ALL

      •  The only reason you believe this is that you (0+ / 0-)

        falsely believe that we need FICA to pay for SS. In reality, iff you look at the published Treasury statements, all SS funds come from the US Treasury and not from the SS Trust fund. Ultimately, we pay for SS just like we do the military, We agree to spend the money via Congress and what do you know, the Treasury issues the money via T-bonds.

        SS can never be killed so long as we collectively agree about the program, FICA taxes have nothing to do with it. All FICA does is severely punish workers.

        "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

        by Auburn Parks on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 07:38:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •   FDR was a wise president. he knews that in order (0+ / 0-)

          for SS to survive it would need 3 things
          1, a dedicated stream of revenue- ie taxes
           2 public support
          3. a way for congress to never screw with it. thats achieved by making it mandatory, and not discretionary
           the tbills that are sold to fund ss are unique, as  they are sold only to fund ss, unlike regular t-bills which are used to honor debt and other obligations. the FICa tax applies to both workers and employers, indeed obama temporarily cut the workers FICA share- from 6.2 to 4.2- for a couple years as a sort of mini-stimulus. Ss is fine, as long as -1 its cap is pegged to 90% as was the intended number in the early 80s reform- which would put it at 200k right now and 2- more workers rejoin the work force. you get near full employment  SS and Medicare are fine.

          •  Sure but those same illusions that you refer (0+ / 0-)

            to as the reasons for SS's continued political support are the same illusions people use to say SS is going bankrupt and will be insolvent which leads many Americans to want to cut the program.

            I dont shy away from the reality of SS. I don't need some accounting trick to advocate for a national retirement system. Plus, I think that admitting the reality that SS can never miss a payment as long as we choose to fund it. Just like how the defense dept will never miss a payment. This is the simple operational details of how our fiat monetary system works. The Fed clears the TSY checks, and they will never bounce. No need for illusions here.

            "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

            by Auburn Parks on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 09:57:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Never shop where you wouldn't work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That's my policy. No to Walmart, yes to Ace Hardware.

    If we lie to the government, it's a felony...but if they lie to us it's politics.

    by rmb on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 08:06:00 PM PST

  •  No one is stopping any company from ... (0+ / 0-)

    ...paying a decent wage when there is no legal imperative.  But paying a decent wage means that the owner/managers value their employees.  And maybe, just maybe, those employees will be loyal enough to spend some of those wages in that business.

    I still am amazed to consider that when I was just 17, and in my first job in a pizza restaurant, the minimum wage for people who might get tips was $1.15/hour, but I was paid  $2/hour.  And the pizza makers were paid $4/hour.  Now I realize how much that store owner valued his employees.  He didn't take his profits and buy a mansion.  

    •  And, I bet he kept his employees. (0+ / 0-)

      There is a real expense in having to train a new employee.  One equation for a decent wage is less turnover, and your employees can spread their discretionary funds around the community benefiting everyone.

  •  The Henry Ford philosophy... (0+ / 0-)

    Not a fan of the man's racist attitudes, but he was a businessman through and through.  

    "Henry Ford's idea that the best way to a healthy economy is through high wages. The idea became a linchpin in an industrial philosophy known as Fordism. ... "Paying high wages," he concluded, "is behind the prosperity of this country." ... And as the country grew ever richer, so would the middle class.  

    His $5 a day wage was unheard of before, and there is controversy as to what his reasoning was a benevolent one to his workers so they could afford to buy their product, or as many seem to think, it was to stop turnover, and build a sound business model where workers would be skilled and stay on the job.

    Whatever it was it worked not only for his workers but is a sound business practice; pay well and you get more customers, not just from your end, but it will improve the overall economy.

    Some of his quotes:
    "It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages."

    "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible."

  •  Raise the minimum wage. (0+ / 0-)

    Why should taxpayers continue to subsidize corporations like McDonalds and Walmart?

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 06:37:37 AM PST

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