Selfish Assholes Undermine Effort to Pay Workers Decently

Remember that company that decided it would pay its lowest paid employee $70,000 a year? It’s currently experiencing difficulties financially, but not for the reasons you think. It’s not that the company suddenly has labor costs shooting through the roof. Instead, selfish employees who work higher up in the company were envious that people “got such a big raise” (i.e. were suddenly compensated like they were being valued) while their raises weren’t as high. Also companies that had contracts with Gravity Payments didn’t like this whole idea of paying workers more, so they didn’t want to encourage the behavior.

From the article:

More troubling, a few customers, dismayed by what they viewed as a political statement, withdrew their business. Others, anticipating a fee increase — despite repeated assurances to the contrary — also left. While dozens of new clients, inspired by Mr. Price’s announcement, were signing up, those accounts will not start paying off for at least another year. To handle the flood, he has already had to hire a dozen additional employees — now at a significantly higher cost — and is struggling to figure out whether more are needed without knowing for certain how long the bonanza will last.

Two of Mr. Price’s most valued employees quit, spurred in part by their view that it was unfair to double the pay of some new hires while the longest-serving staff members got small or no raises. Some friends and associates in Seattle’s close-knit entrepreneurial network were also piqued that Mr. Price’s action made them look stingy in front of their own employees.

This is why we can’t have nice things.


Interesting partly because it’s a credit card processing firm which seems more vulnerable to backlash from those most likely to backlash — the finance industry and those who earn (or hope to earn) most of their their income from private interest payments, premiums, rents and dividends — instead of regular work.

Is the risk from (inevitable) backlash different for a project focused on fundamentals — food, education, housing, utilities?

If a fundamental need is met, then the cost-sharing community benefit may be more visible and strengthen resolve to weather backlash. The project seems more relatable, duplicable … democratic?

For a credit card processing company, the raise can be more easily (though wrongly) characterized as a windfall.

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So basically a bunch of assholes responded to a company raising some people out of poverty with an#AllSalariesMatter campaign…


How should the proponents respond? For example, do they have a union? And it doesn’t look like the company is worker-owned yet.

It seems like there are some steps they could take … maybe start offering their own credit cards marketed based on fair access to credit?

Whatever the response, they’re in it now.

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