The Co-op Voice learned at the Board’s May 15th meeting that the Board is very interested in addressing the wage compression issue, although they said that it could take three to four years to resolve. A major concern appears to be finding the money to address the issue. President Presser assured staff that Rick Mausert (CCO) and Erin Martin (CFO) were available to provide the staff with wage data for the analyses staff is conducting, while protecting confidentiality. President Presser added that she was “here to help to the best of my ability.”
Since that meeting, the Co-op Voice has learned that the approximate $247,000 amount mentioned at the Board meeting as “available” to help address the wage compression issue has also been earmarked for other personnel items like wages for seasonal and holiday coverage, new hourly hires, and overtime pay. The bonus pool might be an additional source of funds to address wage compression, according to the Board discussion at the May 15th meeting.
In addition to thinking outside the box to find necessary funds, staff is also looking at the design of wage increases to address the wage compression issue while remaining equitable for all employees. Several ideas have emerged, including a flat increase across the board, or a freeze on top wages or salaries, with flat wage increases to others and a wage increase geared towards those making less than $15/hour. The budget states that on January 1, 2019 all hourly staff making less than $12.10 will be brought to the new hiring rate of $12.10. While this helps those at the lowest rate, it also means that some experienced staff may be making the same, or nearly the same, as new hires.
The difficulty remains in how to most equitably pay those who have worked the longest at the Co-op as the pay for those newly hired creeps up. Perhaps this needs to be a 2019 Critical Budget Objective?
The Co-op Voice will continue to follow this issue.