5 successful corporations show what can happen when employees are paid a living wage.

In the U.S., people have a lot of choices about where they can shop, eat, and be entertained.

This means we can reward companies that are good to their employees by giving them our business and punish those that pay low wages by shopping at the competition.

Here are a list of five companies that are doing right by their employees and are worthy of receiving our hard-earned dollars.

They’re also great places for people who are looking for a job to consider.


Photo by Sota/Flickr

1. In-N-Out

Ask someone from the west coast what their favorite burger is and they will undoubtedly say “In-N-Out!”

Well, not only does it make great food, but it’s a wonderful place to work, too. In 2018, Glassdoor ranked it as the 4th best place to work in the entire country.

The average In-N-Out cashier makes about $12 an hour, while in comparison, a McDonald’s cashier only makes around $8.

The company is also known for promoting managers from within, creating job growth opportunities for its employees.

In 2012, In-N-Out store managers made more than $120,000 on average. By comparison, the median pay for food service managers across restaurants nationwide is around $48,000 per year, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The company also gives great benefit packages, including: retirement accounts, health plans, and three weeks of paid vacation a year for those who've been with the company more than six years.

Photo by Mike Mozart/Flickr

2. Costco

According to Glassdoor, the average entry-level wage at Costco is $13 an hour and most of its employees receive health benefits and pension plans.

One reason why Costo pays more than the average warehouse retailer is because it believes its employees should be compensated for their hard labor.

In 2016, Costco increased it’s entry-level wage from $11.50 or $12 an hour. “We want to be the premium at all levels,” Costco CFO Richard Galanti told CNN Money.

"And frankly in some markets, this is a physical challenging, a physically challenging job," Galanti said. "You're on your feet, you're lifting cases, you're pushing carts at these entry level jobs. And so we thought it was time to do it.”

Photo by Mike Mozart/Flickr

3. Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe's offers a fair wage (starting salaries are around $13 an hour), along with health and vacation benefits and relatively flexible schedules. This flexibility is part of the company's commitment to healthy employees.

Employees get their schedules far ahead of time so they can schedule their lives outside of work. They also allow employees to work from home when possible.

This commitment to health also means that its employees receive paid sick days and paternal leave.

“When people have some level of control, it diminishes workplace stress and the challenges that come with balancing home, family, work — simultaneously,” Casey Chosewood of the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health told HuffPost. “That is extremely important in decreasing stress.”

Photo by Jack Kennard/Flickr

4. Starbucks

Bad pun alert: working at Starbucks really has its perks.

Starbucks has great benefit programs and, unlike most employers, it offers them to people who work as little as 20 hours a week.

Starbucks offers bonuses, 401(k) matching, discounted stock purchase options, adoption assistance, college tuition reimbursement, health coverage for families, and of course, free coffee.

Photo by Brian Kelley/Flickr

5. Ben & Jerry’s

Hippie Vermont ice cream entrepreneurs Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are definitely committed to giving their employees a living wage. As of 2015, full-time employees were paid $16.92 an hour, more than double the federal minimum wage.

The company regularly recalculates its wage based on the cost of living in Vermont.

Full-time employees also get health benefits and a fun, dog-friendly office with a nap room, massage room, and lots of free ice cream (three pints per person, per day, to be precise).

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less