Walgreens boosts minimum wage to $15 an hour

Walgreens on Tuesday became the latest major company to increase its starting pay for workers to $15 an hour amid a nationwide push among businesses to attract more employees. 

The company said in a statement that the wage increase would occur in phases starting in October, with the new starting pay expected to be fully implemented by November 2022. 

Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Roz Brewer said that the pay increase is being viewed by company leaders as an essential investment in its workforce. 

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“I am extremely proud and grateful of the work our team members are doing across our 9,000 Walgreens locations serving our customers, patients and communities each and every day,” she explained in a statement. 

“Investing in and rewarding our team members is not only the right thing to do, it’s highly important to retaining and attracting a talented workforce, and to continuing to serve our critical role in community health care,” Brewer added. 

The pharmacy store chain said that it expects to spend $450 million over the next three years to cover the wage increase, noting that it plans to at least “partially absorb the investment through the normal course of business.” 

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Several other companies have increased their hourly wages due to demands from workers to meet the value of their work, as well as to attract more employees as businesses aim to make up for losses sustained during the pandemic-induced economic downturn. 

Chipotle announced in May that new starting wages for hourly crew members would range from $11 to $18 an hour, and also unveiled plans to hire 20,000 new employees across the U.S. to “accommodate its peak season and staff and the estimated 200 restaurants it plans to open this year.”

Southwest Airlines said in June that it would be raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour for roughly 7,000 employees as the company looked to recover from the significant drop in air travel during the pandemic. 

Some business analysts have cautioned that the increase in wages could lead to a surge in prices for company products. 

In June, Chipotle said it had raised menu prices by about 4 percent to make up for the increase in wages, though company executives said at the time that they had no additional plans to increase consumer prices any further.

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