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UW Credit Union increased its Foundation Wage from $16 to $17 this month, marking a 35% wage increase since 2015. The increase will directly benefit nearly 160 employees – close to 20% of UW Credit Union’s workforce – and will be reflected in their Nov. 19 paycheck.
The $17 an hour is more than double Wisconsin’s minimum wage of $7.25, which has not risen since 2009. UW Credit Union’s longstanding practice of paying above-market wages has contributed to industry-low employee turnover (11% in 2020) and top workplace ratings. The organization earned national recognition earlier this year with the 2021 Top Workplaces USA award and Culture Excellence awards, both issued by Energage.
“Every year, we review our Foundation Wage to ensure our employees continue to earn a sustainable income,” said UW Credit Union President & CEO Paul Kundert. “It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s essential to attracting and retaining the talent we need to grow as an organization and to effectively serve our members. Outstanding member service is the result of engaged, talented employees who know they are respected and valued.”
The median increase will be $1 per hour, which is $2,080 per year for a full-time employee. The majority of impacted employees work as tellers and call center reps across UW Credit Union’s 29 Wisconsin branch locations, with the majority located in the Madison and Milwaukee areas.
In addition to a competitive base wage, UW Credit Union recently enhanced its pay premiums for bilingual employees in member-focused roles to better serve its diverse membership. Eligible hourly Spanish-speaking employees now earn an extra $1.25 per hour. Eligible salaried Spanish-speaking employees receive an additional $100 per pay period. This amounts to approximately $2,400 to $2,600 in additional compensation per year for full-time employees.
“When it comes to income, every increase matters,” said Cathy Sanchez, a teller at UW Credit Union’s Northport branch. “Being a Spanish-speaking teller, I benefit from the base wage boost and the bilingual pay premium. The additional two dollars per hour make a difference. That difference may not be the same for everyone – for some, it’s being able to afford rent at a better place. For others, it’s more flexibility with holiday spending. But the takeaway is the same: I matter here.
2021 marks UW Credit Union’s 90th anniversary. To learn more about the organization’s comprehensive benefits and career opportunities, visit https://www.uwcu.org/careers/.
About UW Credit Union
UW Credit Union is a growing, federally insured financial institution and a leading provider of a full range of financial services to University of Wisconsin communities. UW Credit Union’s more than 800 employees serve the financial needs of more than 300,000 members through world-class technology systems, and through a convenient network of 29 branch locations and over 100 ATMs. With assets exceeding $4.6 billion, UW Credit Union is ranked nationally among the leading credit unions. Founded 90 years ago by members of the University of Wisconsin faculty and staff, UW Credit Union continues to operate as a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative with locations in the Madison, Milwaukee, Stevens Point, Green Bay, Oshkosh, Whitewater and La Crosse areas.
 According to a Compdata survey, the Banking & Finance industry has an 18.6 percent turnover rate, which is one of the highest among all industries.