UW Credit Union to pay minimum of $15 an hour

Change to roll out beginning in September

UW Credit Union's Waukesha branch.

UW Credit Union has announced it will pay employees a minimum of $15 an hour by September 2017.

UW Credit Union's Waukesha branch.
UW Credit Union’s Waukesha branch.

The wage increase impacts about one-quarter of the Madison-based credit union’s 501 employees, most of whom are in teller, processing or service roles. They previously earned a minimum of $12.60 per hour under UW Credit Union’s foundation wage, established in 2009.

The credit union plans to increase the foundation wage to $13.80 an hour in September and then raise it to $15 an hour a year later, in September 2017.

The move came as the financial institution surpassed 500 employees and began assessing its workforce, said Paul Kundert, president and chief executive officer. There are no plans to reduce employee hours or headcount in conjunction with the increases, which will add another 0.6 percent to operating expenses by 2018.

But it will save UW Credit Union in applicant attraction and employee retention costs, Kundert said.

“Like most employers in Wisconsin, we’re increasingly finding it difficult to fill open jobs,” he said. “We’ve added 50,000 new member checking accts in the last 60 months and staffing’s been increasing, but not at the pace of business.”

The foundation wage was established to provide employees with a living wage, and so they didn’t have to take on second jobs, the company said.

UW Credit Union also is evaluating its workforce to determine whether it can move more of its part-time employees to full time.

“UW Credit Union’s core values focus around people,” Kundert said. “This focused pay rate aligns with our values and continues our commitment to pay above the current market for certain roles.”

The current Wisconsin minimum wage is $7.25.

UW Credit Union has 23 branches across the state and $2.2 billion in assets. It is a nonprofit financial cooperative owned by its 213,000 members.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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