Amalgamated Bank Becomes First Bank in Nation to Pay $15 an Hour Minimum Wage for All Employees; Calls on Banking Industry to Join the Fight for $15

In Wake of National Employment Law Project Study, Amalgamated Bank Reaffirms Commitment to Progressive Values

NEW YORK, August 6, 2015 – Amalgamated Bank, the preeminent bank of progressive people, organizations, businesses and labor, announced today that it will raise all employee wages to a minimum of $15 an hour. Amalgamated Bank’s wage increases are effective immediately. Amalgamated Bank also called on the banking industry to follow its lead and raise all employees’ minimum salaries to $15 an hour.   

“As one of the highest grossing industries, it is simply unacceptable that a significant portion of bank workers rely on public assistance. By raising our minimum wage, we’re hoping to reduce this egregious percentage, and we’re calling on other banks to do the same,” said Amalgamated Bank CEO Keith Mestrich. “While we’re honored to be the first, we hope that the rest of the banking industry swiftly joins us in paying industry employees a living wage.”

“OPEIU Local 153 is extremely pleased to be part of the first agreement in the country that provides bank employees with a $15 minimum hourly wage,” OPEIU International President Michael Goodwin said.  “We hope that other banks will follow Amalgamated Bank’s lead and show their employees the dignity and respect they deserve by providing them with a living wage.”

This news comes on the heels of the recommendation by New York State’s fast-food wage board to raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 an hour by 2018, as well as a study released this week by the National Employment Law Project detailing a great discrepancy in wages in the banking industry. According to their study, while full-time bank tellers earn $25,800/year on average, a typical bank CEO makes in the tens of millions of dollars annually after full compensation packages are included. Amalgamated Bank ranks among the best for CEO to worker pay ratio at 17:1. In New York, the study found that the median wage for bank tellers is $13.31 per hour leaving 39% of New York State bank tellers enrolled in public assistance programs.

“This kind of commitment to people is part of who we are at Amalgamated Bank,” Mestrich added. “We hope our colleagues across the banking industry will see that a livable minimum wage is not only the right thing to do – it’s also good business.”

About Amalgamated Bank
For nearly a century, Amalgamated Bank has been a financial institution with a purpose: affordable and accessible banking for all. Offering customers nationwide the products and services of a major financial institution, Amalgamated is committed to the values on which it was founded . We proudly advocate for workers’ rights and promote the highest standards of environmental, social and corporate governance practices, which is why we are the first choice of progressive organizations and people – from presidential campaigns and labor unions to individuals who want a bank that believes everyone should be able to participate fully in our economy. We serve our communities with the core principle that the real currency of banking isn’t dollars – it’s trust.

###

While we’re honored to be the first, we hope that the rest of the banking industry swiftly joins us in paying industry employees a living wage.
Keith Mestrich, President & CEO, Amalgamated Bank