By Pat Loeb

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Activists across the country will rally for a higher minimum wage today, calling economic justice part of the unfinished business of Martin Luther King’s legacy. One company is putting itself out in front of that movement.

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Insurance giant Aetna says it will raise the minimum wage for its employees to $16-an-hour beginning in April, a move that will cost the company $14-million this year and $20-million next year. But spokesman Walt Cherniak says the company expects ultimately to benefit.

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“It supports our new vision for industry-leading customer satisfaction,” he says. “The expectations that customers have for our service and responsiveness are higher than they’ve ever been and to meet those expectations, we need to attract and keep the best talent in the industry.”

Cherniak says about 12 percent of Aetna’s workforce will get a raise, including 150 in the Philadelphia area. It’s an 11 percent increase on average, and he says their benefits will improve too.

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Cherniak says Aetna is not suggesting this is the right move for every company but expects it will build a healthier, more productive workforce.