Costco pays its workers an average of almost $21 an hour compared with Wal-Mart's average of less than $13 an hour. That's part of a deliberate strategy to ensure that workers are well paid and well taken care of, says CEO Craig Jelinek. "I just think people need to make a living wage with health benefits," he says. "It also puts more money back into the economy and creates a healthier country. It's really that simple."

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