Under Armour is boosting the pay of its hourly employees.
The Baltimore-based sports brand said that starting June 6, the company will institute a 50 percent increase for hourly employees in the U.S. and Canada. Rates will increase from a minimum of $10 an hour to $15 an hour in the U.S. and $15.25 Canadian dollars an hour in Canada. More than 8,000 part- and full-time employees — about 90 percent of the company’s retail and distribution center workforce — will receive a compensation increase.
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“Our retail and distribution house teammates are the backbone of our business, and play an essential role in our ability to serve our focused performers,” said Patrik Frisk, president and chief executive officer of Under Armour. “We are committed to doing the right thing, and at the center of our commitment is ensuring our teammates feel valued and appreciated.”
The bump in pay may help Under Armour fill the more than 3,000 open roles it currently has in retail stores and distribution centers, some of which are seasonal. This includes sales associates, stockroom workers and store managers.
“At Under Armour, direct-to-consumer is one of our biggest growth opportunities,” said Stephanie Pugliese, president of the Americas at Under Armour. “Teammates in our retail stores and distribution houses are our strongest asset and we needed to make a strategic decision on our hourly wages to be a competitive employer in the retail space. We’re delighted to be able to raise our minimum pay rate and acknowledge the hard work of our frontline teammates in retail and warehouse, particularly over the past year.”
Under Armour is believed to be the first sporting goods brand to raise its minimum wages to the equivalent of $15 an hour as there are increasing demands in the U.S. for companies to do so. Meanwhile, there is a scarcity of workers across many sectors in the U.S., including hospitality and some retail, even as unemployment remains stubbornly high as a result of the pandemic.
According to Payscale.com, Nike generally pays between $10 and $16 to its store employees, with an average wage of $12 an hour. Last month, Amazon said it would raise the wages of 500,000 workers between 50 cents and $3 an hour. It had raised its minimum wage to $15 in 2018. Target also upped its minimum wage to $15 last summer.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, a figure that has not been raised since 2009 and the longest stretch since it was established in 1938. Although minimum wage varies state to state, there is a push in Congress to raise the federal figure to $15 an hour by 2025, which would raise the earnings of 21 percent of the workforce, or some 32 million people, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The Raise the Wage Act of 2021 was introduced in January and is seen as a key pillar to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
“Let’s be clear. The $7.25-an-hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders. “No person in America can make it on $8, $10 or $12 an hour. In the United States of America a job must lift workers out of poverty, not keep them in it. We must raise the minimum wage to a living wage — at least $15 an hour. And when we do that, not only will we be lifting millions of Americans out of poverty, we will be providing a raise to nearly 32 million workers. We can no longer tolerate millions of workers not being able to afford to feed their families or pay the rent. The time for talk is over. No more excuses. It is time for Congress to act to raise the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.”
Although the bill passed in the House of Representatives, it failed in the Senate in early March.