The employee, Tyrel Oates, who works for American banking and financial services provider Wells Fargo, sent the email asking for a raise for $10,000 (about 6,000) against his current salary of $15/hour (less than 10/hour). He has worked at the company for seven years.
The email was sent to Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf. In particular, Oates criticised the latest bonus that Stumpf had received, which gave him a $19m pay-package in 2013 alone. “More”, said Oates “than any of us will see in our lives.”
Beyond Oates’ audacity at simply emailing the company CEO, he cc’d 200,000 of his colleagues – emails he had collected or found on the Outlook database. The point was to show a united front against low wages and wage inequality, even though Wells Fargo doesn’t allow unions.
Oates said in an interview with Business Insider that he’s not worried about losing his job, and that he has received a huge amount of support from colleagues.
“Out of the hundreds of replies I’ve received from colleagues supporting my actions and ideas, I’ve only received two negative replies.”
Here’s his letter in full:
With the increasing focus on income inequality, Wells Fargo has an opportunity to be at the forefront of helping to reduce this by setting the bar, leading by example, and showing the other large corporations that it is very possible to maintain a profitable company that not only looks out for its consumers and shareholders, but its employees as well.
This year Wells Fargo in its second quarter alone had a net income of $5.7bn, and total revenue of $21.1bn. These are very impressive numbers, and is obvious evidence that Wells Fargo is one of, if not the most profitable company in the nation right now. So, why not take some of this and distribute it to the rest of the employees. Sure, the company provides while not great, some pretty good benefits, as well as discretionary profit sharing for those who partake in our 401k program. While the benefits are nice, the profit sharing through the 401k only goes to make the company itself and its shareholders more profitable, and not really boost the income of the thousands of us here every day making this company the prestigious power house that it is.
Last year, you had pulled in over $19m, more than most of the employees will see in our lifetimes. It is understood that your position carries a lot of weight and responsibility; however, with a base salary of $2.8m and bonuses equating to $4m, is alone one of the main arguments of income inequality. Where the vast majority, the undeniable profit drivers, with the exception of upper management positions barely make enough to live comfortably on their own, the distribution of income in this company is no better than that of the other big players in the corporate world.
My estimate is that Wells Fargo has roughly around 300,000 employees. My proposal is take $3bn dollars, just a small fraction of what Wells Fargo pulls in annually, and raise every employees annual salary by $10,000 dollars. This equates to an hourly raise about $4.71 per hour. Think, as well, of the positive publicity in a time of extreme consumer skepticism towards banks. By doing this, Wells Fargo will not only help to make its people, its family, more happy, productive, and financially stable, it will also show the world that, yes big corporations can have a heart other than philanthropic endeavours.
P.S. To all of my fellow team members who receive a copy of this email. Though Wells Fargo does not allow the formation of unions, this does not mean we cannot stand united. Each and every one of us plays an integral part in the success of this company. It is time that we ask, no, it is time that we demand to be rightfully compensated for the hard work that we accomplish, and for the great part we all have played in the success of this company. There are many of us out there who come to work every day and give it our all, yet, we struggle to make ends meet while our peers in upper management and company executives reap the majority of the rewards. One of our lowest scored TMCS questions is that our opinions matter. Well they do! This email has been sent to hundreds of thousands Wells Fargo employees, (as many as I could cc from the outlook global address book). And while the voice of one person in a world as large as ours may seem only like a whisper, the combined voices of each and all of us can move mountains!
With the warmest of regards,