Ikea and The Gap fill the wage gap

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(NNPA)—President Obama would like the national minimum wage to rise to $10.10 an hour. By executive order, he has already raised the minimum wage for federal contractors. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has threatened to sue President Obama for his use of executive order, which he says circumvents Congressional authority.

Ikea said it will raise the average minimum wage to $10.76 an hour, which is an increase of 17 percent.  Ikea says its goal is to offer their workers a living wage, regardless of whether their competitors offer it. Half of Ikea employees will get a raise, while those who already earn a living wage will not. The chain now provides other benefits, such as a 401(k) match. Ikea has just 38 stores in the United States, which may minimize the impact their wage increase has on its competitors. Still, Ikea has done the right thing and earned a competitive advantage in the areas where they have stores.

The Gap, too, has increased its wage to $9 an hour, which will rise to $10 an hour next year. Seattle has raised its minimum wage to $15, and dozens of municipalities have also increase their minimum wage. When employers and municipalities fail to offer a living wage, they shift a wage burden to the rest of us because those who earn the minimum wage are subsidized by federal benefits to the poor, which we all pay.

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