If you’re going to ask your boss for a raise, you’d maybe do well to do it the way this Wells Fargo employee did. He went big, both in the amount he asked for and the number of people he asked in front of!
Tyrel Oates is a Wells Fargo employee based in Oregon, currently making a bit more than $15 per hour to process requests from customers looking to stop debt-collection calls. Working 40 hours per week, five days per week, Oates pulls in about $600 per week, before taxes. That’s actually up from the $520 per week Oates was making when he started with the company.
By comparison, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf pulled in about $19.3 million in total compensation last year for his services. According to The Charlotte Observer, that puts Stumpf pretty high up on the list of bank CEO earners but not as high as JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon. Still, that’s more than 600 times what Oates makes in one year. Oates’ solution: ask for a raise.
The Wells Fargo employee sent his boss’ boss’ boss’ boss’ boss – probably a few more levels in there, but eh – an email asking for a $10,000 per year raise. Oates didn’t just ask for one himself, though; he also asked for $10,000 more per year for each of Wells Fargo’s roughly 263,500 employees.
“Just knowing the unease of my fellow team members as far as pay goes and how horrible our pay increases have been over the seven years,” Oates told the Observer, “I just decided to send a letter to John Stumpf.”
In the letter, Oates posited that a $10,000 raise for all of Wells Fargo’s employees would “show the rest of the United States, if not the world, that, yes, big corporations can have a heart other than philanthropic endeavors.”
Doing so, Oates reasoned, would reduce income inequality between executives and front line employees, sending a message to other massive corporations.
For reference, Wells Fargo did $21.1 billion in revenue in the second quarter of this year, pulling in $5.7 billion in profits. Upping the pay of Wells Fargo’s employees by $10,000 per year would amount to about $2.64 billion more per year in payroll, or less than half of one quarter’s profits.
Oates’ request was a gutsy one, but he didn’t just send the email to Wells Fargo’s CEO. The letter went out to Stumpf, but it also went out to about 200,000 other Wells Fargo employees.
And he’s still got a job.
“I’m not worried about losing my job over this,” Oates said. That’s possibly due to the tremendous feedback and kudos Oates has gotten from his fellow Wells Fargo employees.
And how has Wells Fargo responded? Oates hasn’t said whether Stumpf ever emailed him back, and it seems like he definitely would have mentioned it if he’d actually gotten the $10,000 raise. A Wells Fargo spokeswoman, though, told the Observer that the big bank’s pay rates were quite fair.
The spokesperson said that Wells Fargo provides “market competitive” compensation that combines base pay with benefits and career-development opportunities.
So there’s that.
At the very least, Oates got word from his manager that he’s not in trouble, even though news of the email has gone viral and cast a spotlight on the massive gap between CEO and ground-level worker pay. Which is good, because some Wells Fargo employees have claimed the company is usually ready to hand out pink slips. One Florida man claimed in 2012 that the bank fired him because his dying daughter’s cancer treatments were too expensive.
There’s also been no response from Stumpf yet, but there’s still time.
[Lead image via Fox News]