Letters: Clarifying Weaver’s Way priorities towards a living wage

Posted 2/10/21

In response to a Letter to the Editor printed in a recent edition [“Striving for a living wage,” Jan. 21], I would like to present your readers with facts regarding Weavers Way’s wages and compensation. 

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Letters: Clarifying Weaver’s Way priorities towards a living wage

Posted

In response to a Letter to the Editor printed in a recent edition [“Striving for a living wage,” Jan. 21], I would like to present your readers with facts regarding Weavers Way’s wages and compensation. 

Raising the Co-op’s minimum pay to $15.00 has been and will continue to be a top business priority.  Beginning in the spring of 2019, and periodically since then, I have given progress updates to the Co-op’s member-owners regarding our plan for raising our starting wage incrementally over a multiple year period.  We have been clear about our goal and transparent about the challenges we will need to overcome. 

In the spring of 2019, we moved our starting wage from $10.50 to $11.00.  In the fall of 2019, we went up to $11.50.

At the start of the pandemic, in March, 2020, we began paying all “front line” employees an additional $2.00 hour hazard pay.  Almost all grocers that paid their employees hazard pay back in the early stages of the pandemic stopped doing so by summer.  We have continued to pay $2.00 hour hazard pay throughout the pandemic. 

At the beginning of last month we moved our starting wage up to $12.00.  So currently, all store personnel are earning at least $14.00 hour ($12.00 + $2.00 hazard pay) for all hours worked. 

The Co-op currently has 244 employees.  Of them, 98 (40%) earn at least $15.00 hour.  Adding the $2.00 hour hazard pay, 175 employees (72%) earn at least $15.00 hour.

It is also important to consider an employer’s total compensation package rather than just hourly rate.  Benefits are often overlooked when discussing a “livable wage,” and it is not uncommon for some employers who tout their high hourly wages to skimp on non-wage compensation.

Co-op employees receive paid vacation, sick, and holiday pay (as well as paid time off for bereavement and jury duty).  We offer our employees three different medical / prescription drug plans and pay a substantial part of the premium for both employees and any dependents they have on our plan.  We also pay most of the premium for dental insurance, and we pay the full cost of short- and long-term disability insurance and life insurance. 

The Co-op has a retirement plan which includes a 35% employer match, a 15% staff discount (for staff and all members of their household) and, business conditions permitting, we pay an annual staff bonus (in the 12 years I’ve been with the Co-op, we have always paid a staff bonus). 

Putting a dollar figure on all of these non-wage benefits is challenging – not all employees take full advantage of all of our benefits – but for the typical full-time employee, it is approximately the equivalent of $2.46 an hour. 

Through the stress and strain of the pandemic, our employees have shown a perseverance that reflects the dedication they have to the Co-op and our values of shared prosperity.  We will continue to prioritize staff compensation for the duration of the pandemic and beyond. 

If any of your readers would like further information, they are most welcome to email me at jroesser@weaversway.coop

Jon Rosser

General Manager

Weaver’s Way

letters

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment