CHELSEA — Bank tellers might see thousands of dollars each day, but most take home a median wage of $12.44 an hour, according to the National Employment Law Project.
Amalgamated Bank, headquartered in Chelsea, wants to change that. The union-owned bank raised the minimum pay of their lowest-paid workers to $15 an hour, they announced Thursday, in concert with the nationwide "Fight for 15" campaign.
“I think we looked at ourselves and said, ‘We need to make sure that everyone at the bank is making at least that much money,'” CEO Keith Mestrich told DNAinfo.
Amalgamated employs about 425 workers, mostly in New York, he said. Some mail room employees and tellers were making less than $14 an hour, according to Mestrich. The bank's interns will also get the $15 hourly wage, he said.
Amalgated is the first bank to announce such a move, but they hope to start a trend.
“Of all the industries in the country that should be able to afford to give a raise to this level, the banking industry…has done extremely well in the last couple years,” Mestrich said. “So I hope others follow our lead.”
Amalgamated is owned by the union Workers United, the current incarnation of what was once the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. They have 14 branches in the city and three others nationwide.
The bank's contracted cleaners are members of SEIU 32BJ, he said, and paid more than the company's new $15 hourly standard, Mestrich said.