• By The Financial District

U.S. RESTAURANTS, STORES RAISE PAY TO ATTRACT WORKERS

US restaurants and stores are rapidly raising pay in an urgent effort to attract more applicants and keep up with a flood of customers as the pandemic eases, Christopher Rugaber reported for the Associated Press (AP).

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McDonald’s, Sheetz and Chipotle are just some of the latest companies to follow Amazon, Walmart and Costco in boosting wages, in some cases to $15 an hour or higher. The pay gains are, of course, a boon to these employees.


Restaurants, bars, hotels and stores remain the lowest-paying industries, and many of their workers ran the risk of contracting COVID-19 on the job over the past year while white-collar employees were able to work from home.


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Still, the pay increases could contribute to higher inflation if companies raise prices to cover the additional labor costs. Some businesses, however, could absorb the costs or invest over time in automation to offset higher wages.


States and cities are easing business restrictions as COVID-19 deaths and cases plummet, and in places like Florida, Nevada, and Texas, restaurant traffic is above or near pre-pandemic levels, according to OpenTable, a software provider to the industry. Many companies say they are struggling to find workers.


Fight for $15 and a Union, a labor group that is trying to unionize fast-food workers, said that the increases aren’t enough and that it will continue to demand a starting wage of $15 per hour for all McDonald’s workers.


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“Clearly, McDonald’s understands that in order to hire and retain talented workers, something needs to change,” McDonald’s employee and union organizer Doneshia Babbitt said in a statement.


“Now, they’re raising pay for some of us and using fancy math tricks to gloss over the fact that they’re selling most of us short.”


Fight for $15 is planning strikes in 15 cities next Wednesday ahead of the fast-food giant’s annual shareholder meeting, Dee-Ann Durbin also reported for AP.



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