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Staff Compensation 2021

Support Our Effort to Raise Wages for Co-op Staff (Nov 2021)

A special request from your Co-op’s General Manager 

We’ve gotten a few questions about the compensation and benefits package we plan to provide to our staff. Transparency is very important to us, so we wanted to share our answers. We are so grateful that our community shares our desire to pay our amazing team fairly!

Let’s review the package we currently provide, and the package we plan to provide with your support. 

Currently, Clerks earn at least $11/hour and Department Leads earn at least $13/hour. We will offer hazard pay for retail frontline shifts to the extent we can. We will provide health insurance, paid leave, and a store discount. Our workers will have access to professional development too. We set a new employee’s pay based on their experience. We were able to attract very experienced candidates so currently none are set at the base rate for any position. 

We know this isn’t enough and we want more for our staff. We are working hard to bring our wages up and expand our benefits, but we need your support. Keep reading to find out what you can do to help. 

Hazard Pay: Our goal is to raise $12,400 to cover 6,200 hours of hazard pay starting January 1st, 2021 and running through April 30th, 2021. This would double our current hazard pay ($1/hour) and extend that beyond the first month of operation. We are currently searching and applying for grant opportunities, however self-funding is our strongest option for increasing this essential benefit. You can support us by contributing to our Hazard Pay fund today: click here. You will also have the opportunity to contribute to this fund at the register.  

Wages: Our goal is to increase base pay by $2/hr for our entire team, while also increasing our maximum hourly rates. This would be the first incremental step in raising wages even higher in the future. Our Department Managers, staff, and I are working together to realize these goals. We all need to work together to make this possible and that includes our Member-Owners. 

Here’s how you can support Co-op staff members:  

  • Pledge to shop at the Co-op and spend your grocery dollars with us in 2021. 
  • Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to shop with us also (and to become Member-Owners if they aren't already). 
  • Contribute to our Hazard Pay fund.
  • Donate local restaurant gift cards to show appreciation for our staff in this busy and difficult time.

If we can beat our revenue projections by 15% next year, we will be able to sustain the increased wages outlined above. Higher than expected sales will also increase our Co-ops efficiency. An efficient store can afford the best benefits for its team and we can’t do it without you. 

Until we reach our sales goals for a sustained period of time, we will fund Hazard Pay through community donations. We will pay quarterly staff bonuses when we exceed our sales and labor margin goals. This will help bridge the gap, until we are certain our sales are hitting our goals in a sustained way. 

Before I go, a word about accountability. The Board requires me to submit  reports on staff treatment and pay each year. Those reports also include plans to offer better benefits and pay going forward. I look forward to reporting on the accomplishment of these goals, with your help and support.  

Thank you for your continued consideration. We are humbled and inspired by the outpouring of support that our community. Your help allows us to get the store open during this pandemic. We appreciate your commitment to shopping our store and support for our Hazard Pay fund.

In Cooperation and Solidarity, 

Lori Burge

General Manager 

(UPDATE: May 2021, while we were not able to attain any grants we have been able to sustain the $1/hour bump that was hazard pay and converted that $1/hour into our regular base pay while increasing our wage cap. This means our starting wage is now $12/hour. We continue working to attain our goals so we can increase the base wage further). 

(UPDATE: Dec 2021, we are now working on testing some projections to see if we can sustain another increase in the upcoming fiscal year)