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Costco Says It Pays Employees Better than Amazon or Walmart

Costco Wholesale Corporation, the world’s second largest retailer after Walmart, says it pays its employees more than Amazon, Walmart or any of its competitors.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Issaquah, WA, United States (4E) – Costco Wholesale Corporation, the world’s second largest retailer after Walmart, says it pays its employees more than Amazon, Walmart or any of its competitors.

Costco CFO Richard Galanti affirms the pay and benefits offered by Costco still remain ahead of the competition, Amazon’s recent move to hike its employees pay to $15 per hour notwithstanding. He noted that Costco raised its minimum wage to $14 from $13 following a tax-cut bill signed by Donald Trump in late 2017. He also said Costco provides raises every year, unlike many other retailers.

“Even though our starting wage is $14 to $14.50, an employee who’s been here over a number of years can get up into the equivalent of the mid-$40s to the mid-$50s on an hourly basis over time, on top of great health benefits,” said Galanti.

He noted that Costco’s average U.S. hourly wage is some $22.50, “which we believe dwarfs any other retail or retail-type entity out there on a base scale.”

Independent sources show that as of September, the hourly pay at Costco ranges from $10.61 to $25.86 an hour. Costco employees with the job title Pharmacist make the most, being paid an average hourly rate of $60.64. On the other hand, employees with the title Retail Cashier make the least with an average hourly rate of $8.32.

Before it announced the pay hikelast week, Amazon starting pay varied by location. It ranged from $10 an hour at a warehouse in Austin, Texas to $13.50 an hour in Robbinsville, New Jersey. In 2017, the median Amazon employee earned just under $28,500, according to company filings. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos earned $1.7 million for the year..

The long-overdue pay raise for Amazon employees, many of whom have to rely on food stamps because of their low hourly Amazon wages, will take effect Nov.1 this year. The new minimum wage will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees (including part-time and temporary employees) and 100,000 seasonal employees. Some employees who already make $15 per hour will also see a pay increase.

Amazon and Bezos have faced intense criticism for the low hourly pay among Amazon employees. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) last month introduced a bill called the “Stop Bezos Act” to tax corporations for every dollar their low-wage workers receive in government health-care benefits or food stamps.

In early September, Sanders attacked Amazon in a blistering tweet before filing the Stop Bezos Act that said: “Thousands of Amazon workers have to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing to survive. That is what a rigged economy looks like. Tomorrow we will introduce a bill to end subsidies for low-wage employers.”

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Labor

U.S. Steel Agrees to 14% Pay Hike for USW Workers

United States Steel (USS), the country’s second largest steel producer, and the United Steelworkers (USW) bargaining committee have reached a tentative deal that guarantees a 14% pay hike for union members until 2021, plus other benefits.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Pennsylvania, PA, United States (4E) – United States Steel (USS), the country’s second largest steel producer, and the United Steelworkers (USW) bargaining committee have reached a tentative deal that guarantees a 14% pay hike for union members until 2021, plus other benefits.

“We have a tentative agreement with USS and unanimous recommendation from the bargaining committee,” said the USW in an update to members. “Thank you for support and solidarity.”

The four-year contract agreed upon includes a 4 percent raise the first year; 3.5 percent raises in 2019 and 2020, and a 3 percent raise in 2021 for a total increase of 14 percent in pay. There’s also a $4,000 signing bonus.

The proposed deal will also preserve existing healthcare benefits and incentives formulas. It will include a second healthcare option and there will be no premium increases for retirees.

Union representatives will explain the proposal in detail during meetings at union locals.

“We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with the USW we believe is fair and in the best long-term interests of our employees and their families, as well as U.S. Steel’s customers, stockholders and other stakeholders,” said USS President and CEO David Burritt.

“Together, we’ve agreed on terms that will create certainty and stability for our many stakeholders, enable our company to implement our long-term business strategy, which includes continued, responsible investments in our people and plants, and position U.S. Steel to remain a leader in the highly competitive global steel industry.”

Last month, USS workers overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike because of concerns about the company taking away healthcare and retiree benefits. These moves would have also burdened steelworkers with thousands of dollars a year in out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

The union and steelmaker returned to the bargaining table in Pittsburgh, and the two sides were finally able to hammer out an agreement months after negotiations started this summer.

“We are relieved that the company came to their senses,” said Michael Young, president of USW Local 6103, which represents steelworkers at the Midwest Plant in Portage. “I think this agreement is an agreement the members deserve and we are proud to bring it home to the membership for ratification.”

Negotiations between USW and ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel maker, continue. ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel account for nearly 25 percent of U.S. steel production.

Last month, 15,000 members of the USW at ArcelorMittal unanimously voted to authorize a nationwide strike at plants operated by the company if negotiations over new contracts flounder. ArcelorMittal also wants concessions from workers despite recently reporting its highest quarterly profit in seven years.

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Ford Thinking of Firing 24,000 Employees in Major Company ‘Redesign’

Just in time for the holidays and in the midst of a booming economy, Ford Motor Company will announce massive job cuts as a result of falling demand triggered by Trump’s trade war.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Dearborn, MI, United States (4E) – Just in time for the holidays and in the midst of a booming economy, Ford Motor Company will announce massive job cuts as a result of falling demand triggered by Trump’s trade war.

Ford said it will “redesign” its employee numbers by firing an undisclosed number of employees from among its 70,000 strong white-collar workforce. This number will definitely cause the firing of thousands of employees, say analysts.

Investment bank and financial services firm Morgan Stanley had even more terrifying numbers. It estimates up to 24,000 Ford employees might lose their jobs.

A recent Morgan Stanley report estimates “a global headcount reduction of approximately 12 percent,” or 24,000 of Ford’s 202,000 workers worldwide.” If implemented, this will be the largest mass firing in the history of the American auto industry, said Morgan Stanley.

Ford might not suffer that much angst from firing a historic and unprecedented number of employees. Current Ford CEO Jim Hackett fired over 12,000 employees when he was boss of office furniture maker Steelcase.

Ford says this redesign (another euphemism for being fired) will create an organization that’s leaner, with fewer layers, and offer more decision-making power to employees. The announcement follows news that Trump’s trade war with China has already cost Ford over $1 billion in revenues since July when the war started.

“A lot of the (reorganization) is about making different choices about strategy,” said Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks. He said Ford’s goal isn’t only to slash spending but to improve the “fitness” of the company.

Ford has already warned that Donald Trump his auto tariffs have cost the company over $1 billion. Shanks said the company has also told Trump that his trade policies threaten to wreak havoc on Ford’s ongoing reorganization.

The ongoing $25.5 billion reorganization plan includes slashing $6 billion in improved capital efficiencies. Hackett was already expectd to announce the mass firings but has held off, according to some analysts.

Analysts say Ford needs to reorganize because it’s not doing that well in the markerplace.Ford has fallen behind the competition. It’s sold a depressing 32.8 vehicles per employee compared to GM’s 52.7 vehicles per employee.

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Facing Intense Criticism, Amazon is Forced to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 for All U.S. Employees

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) must be overjoyed. Amazon.com has said it will raise the hourly wage of all its employees to $15 an hour, the rate Sanders has been shaming Amazon and its billionaire owner, Jeff Bezos, into granting for the past year.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Seattle, WA, United States (4E) – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) must be overjoyed. Amazon.com has said it will raise the hourly wage of all its employees to $15 an hour, the rate Sanders has been shaming Amazon and its billionaire owner, Jeff Bezos, into granting for the past year.

The long-overdue pay raise for Amazon employees, many of whom have to rely on food stamps because of their low hourly Amazon wages, will take effect Nov.1 this year. The new minimum wage will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees (including part-time and temporary employees) and 100,000 seasonal employees. Some employees who already make $15 per hour will also see a pay increase.

Amazon will also raise wages for British employees to a minimum of £10.50 ($13.61) for workers in London and £9.50 ($12.31) in the rest of the Unnited Kingdom.

Amazon and Bezos have faced intense criticism for the low hourly pay among Amazon employees. Sen. Sanders last month introduced a bill called the “Stop Bezos Act” to tax corporations for every dollar their low-wage workers receive in government health-care benefits or food stamps.

Amazon said the effect of the higher pay will be reflected in its forward-looking quarterly guidance. Shares of Amazon were trading a fraction of 1 percent lower before the market open.

The company and CEO Jeff Bezos have been facing criticism for its pay disparity. Sen. Bernie Sanders last month introduced legislation called the Bezos Act to tax corporations for every dollar that their low-wage workers receive in government health-care benefits or food stamps.

In early September, Sanders attacked Amazon in a blistering tweet before filing the Stop Bezos Act that said: “Thousands of Amazon workers have to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing to survive. That is what a rigged economy looks like. Tomorrow we will introduce a bill to end subsidies for low-wage employers.”

Amazon’s starting pay varies by location. It ranges from $10 an hour at a warehouse in Austin, Texas to $13.50 an hour in Robbinsville, New Jersey. In 2017, the median Amazon employee earned just under $28,500, according to company filings. Bezos earned $1.7 million.

“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” said Bezos. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”

Target said it will raise ita minimum hourly wage to $15 by 2020. Walmart announced plans in January to raise its minimum wage to $11 from $9.

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