The Stranger’s Ansel Herz has a nice scoop on the latest contract offer to Central Co-op’s nearly 100 unionized employees — the E Madison market plans to offer entry-level wages of $15 seven years ahead of the deadline set by Seattle’s new minimum law:
The co-op is getting ahead of the game by seven years, entering into a contract with its unionized employees to offer them entry-level wages of $15—starting now.
“We believe working families need that income now,” said Dan Arnett, general manager of the cooperative. “We can afford it and find ways to make it work for us. We think our people are worth it.”
“We want to inspire change—systematic change,” he added. “Particularly in a city that’s expensive, we can’t fall back on poverty wages.”
Herz says the co-op’s board is expected to approve the contract today.
Spearheaded by Council Member Kshama Sawant and eventually embraced by Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle’s new wage rules will boost the minimum to $15 per hour for every worker in the city by 2021. Murray’s May Day compromise plan created tiers of phase-in schedules intended to help protect Seattle businesses with fewer than 500 employees and nonprofits from unintended consequences of a higher minimum wage.
The 13,000-member Central Co-op, a CHS advertiser, joins other businesses in the city already meeting the minimum requirements but appears poised to be the largest employer yet to make the move. Meanwhile, the new Whole Foods lined up to join Madison less than a mile from the co-op in three years currently pays its workers “a minimum starting salary” of $10 nationwide.