Pay Wheatsville staff a living wage
In its own words, "the purpose of Wheatsville Co-op is to create a self-reliant, self-empowering community of people that will grow and promote a transformation of society toward cooperation, justice, and non-exploitation."
For a long time, the Wheatsville cooperative grocery store in Austin, Texas has been regarded as a community leader in ethical trade and cooperative values. Its pay rates for front-line employees, however, have fallen far behind other cooperatives and private enterprises, including Walmart. As of April 1, a new Walmart employee can expect to make $10 / hour, the result of sustained political pressure on the corporation to provide a living wage for its employees. Wheatsville offers $9 / hour, despite the much-publicized cost-of-living increase that has taken hold of Austin in the last few years.
In its most recent statement on the subject, the City of Austin defined a living wage within its borders as $11.38 / hour. It is not unreasonable to ask that a cooperative dedicated to "non-exploitation" should attempt to provide a living wage for its employees.
We, the Wheatsville Staff Solidarity Collective, speak on behalf of all the Wheatsville employees who are routinely overstretched and undersupported by shoddy managerial practices and a corporate mentality that prioritizes sales-to-labor ratios far above employee well-being. There is much work to be done in this area, and much of it needs to happen internally, but a living wage would offer a promising start.
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