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More than 150 workers at Lidl supermarkets in Philadelphia will soon make more than double the state’s minimum wage. The German grocery chain announced earlier this month it would be raising base pay to $15 per hour in several U.S. cities, including at the two Philly outlets, located in Harrowgate and the far Northeast.
Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is just $7.25 per hour, same as the federal rate, and hasn’t changed since 2009. Nearby, base pay in New Jersey is $12, while New York is working toward $15.
Nearly 91k workers in Pa. would see their pay boosted if the commonwealth raised its minimum. A coalition of community-based organizations called Raise The Wage PA have been advocating for the hike, with Philly-based groups like POWER at the forefront of that fight.
Philadelphia recently raised the minimum wage for city employees to $15 per hour. In Harrisburg, lawmakers remain divided on the issue.
Gov. Tom Wolf recently put forth a renewed plan, which calls for raising the state minimum wage to $12 this July, with gradual, incremental increases that would hit $15 by 2027. Conservative-leaning groups argue a higher minimum wage could harm small business and reduce employee benefits, while some nonpartisan groups have said it could decrease job opportunity by minimizing turnover.
Corporations, of course, don’t have to wait for governments to raise the minimum — and Lidl isn’t the only supermarket in Philly paying $15 or more.
Will knowing the rates workers are paid affect where you shop? Here’s where some of the other grocery chains stand.
Lidl first opened its doors to Philadelphia at the end of 2019 with its Aramingo Avenue location. Last December, the chain opened its second market on Roosevelt Boulevard.
It’s been rolling out wage increases across its markets, starting with Atlanta area workers in January and Long Island workers in February. (Long Island is set to enact a $15 minimum wage soon, anyway.)
After announcing frontline workers would get $15 an hour plus a small bonus for working during the coronavirus pandemic, the big box store made the wage hike permanent last June.
In Philly, Target’s been rolling out new “smaller format” locations since the end of 2017. Now, there are 10 inside Philadelphia proper.
Whole Foods has two Philly locations — one near the Art Museum and one on South Street. The health food chain is owned by Amazon, which raised its base pay to $15 in late 2018. That change applied to Whole Foods employees as well.
GIANT is Pennsylvania’s second largest private employer, spokesperson Ashley Flower said. With the addition of the new Riverwalk GIANT flagship near 23rd and Arch Streets, the grocery chain will employ 600 people in Philadelphia.
Flower would not comment on GIANT’s base pay, but self-reported figures on Glassdoor indicate the chain pays its cashiers around $10 on average. Deli, produce, bakery and overnight associates make about $11 an hour on average, per Glassdoor reports. Similar numbers are reported on Indeed and PayScale.
GIANT’s employment package includes paid time off and education reimbursement, Flower said.
Save A Lot
With nearly 20 locations, Save A Lot is one of the most prevalent chains in and around Philadelphia.
A spokesperson did not respond to a Billy Penn inquiry about wages, but self-reported Indeed and Glassdoor figures show hourly sales associate wages hover around $9. Hourly wages range from just about $8 for a stocker to nearly $17 for an assistant store manager.
With more than 1,000 salaries reported, Trader Joe’s clocks in with some of the highest base wages across jobs, according to self-reported wage sites.
Average hourly “crew member” pay is around $16 per Indeed and around $18 per PayScale. Both sites show cashiers make about $13 an hour on average.
Hourly pay ranges from about $11 for a warehouse worker to $30 for an assistant manager position according to rates reported on Indeed. PayScale shows numbers ranging from $10 to $29 for the same positions.
While a spokesperson did not respond to Billy Penn outreach, Indeed reflects a pay range for the European grocery chain from about $13 for a sales associate up to $27 for an assistant manager.
Aldi operates around a dozen locations in Philadelphia, including the highly anticipated Fairmount location near 13th and Fairmount, which opened in December.
The family-owned Cousins Supermarkets has two Philly stores, both along N. 5th Street, along with one Camden location.
Owner Alex Ibrahim said the starting pay is $9 for front-end workers like cashiers and $10 for back stock. If the state raised the wage to $15, he said Cousins would comply.
ShopRite and Fresh Grocer
Brown’s Super Stores, owned by possible mayoral candidate Jeff Brown, accounts for 11 of the more than two dozen ShopRite locations in the area. The chain and its sister store Fresh Grocer are both owned by Wakefern Food Corp.
Employees at these locations are represented by a union. However, a spokesperson did not respond to a request for specific wage information.
Online wage-reporting sites like Indeed and Glassdoor show base pay at ShopRite landing around $9 for a front end associate. Cashiers take home about $10 an hour, the sites show.
Indeed numbers for Fresh Grocer, which operates 5 stores inside the city limits, reflect the chain starting pay at less than $8 an hour with less than 50 people reporting compared to 170 reported salaries for ShopRite.
Sprouts Farmers Market
There’s one Sprouts Farmers Market in South Philly. Again, a spokesperson for the nationwide chain did not respond to wage questions.
Self-reported salaries show the market’s pay starts between $9 to $10 for cashiers. The average cashier salary is around $11, according to PayScale.
With it’s new University City market at 40th and Walnut, Acme operates 17 city locations. An Acme rep. did not respond to Billy Penn outreach about base pay, but a review of Indeed and PayScale show the company starts baggers at less than $8 an hour, while the average hourly pay for a cashier is just under $11.
Customer service reps make about $10, while Acme sales associates make less than $9 an hour on average.