Hoskin calls upon CNB to raise its employees’ wages

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/26/2019 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. on Aug. 14 called upon the Cherokee Nation Businesses board of directors to follow the tribe’s lead and implement a wage increase for employees working for the tribe’s business arm.

According to a CN press release, CNB employs more than 7,560 people and is the board-governed holding company for the tribe’s for-profit businesses. It also states that CNB pays a direct dividend of 37 percent of its profits to the tribe for services such as housing, health care, education and social services. The remaining 63 percent is reinvested into growing jobs, wages, business development and special projects such as health care facilities construction, the release states.

“As chief of the Cherokee Nation, I respect CNB’s status as a wholly-owned business entity of the Cherokee Nation, overseen by a board of directors with the business acumen to balance the very real needs of our Cherokee Nation citizens today, with what will keep our businesses thriving in the long-term. However, it is clear that CNB has experienced tremendous success during the past eight years in large measure due to the dedication of its employees,” Hoskin stated in the release. “Accordingly, it seems appropriate in my view for CNB to raise employee wages in a manner consistent with my plan to increase Cherokee Nation government employee wages.”

According to the release, Hoskin anticipates CNB to review its budget and develop a fair and sustainable pay increase plan.

“Raising the entry level wage to at least $11 an hour further enhances our ability to attract and retain great talent at CNB,” CNB Executive Vice President Chuck Garrett stated in the release. “In addition to this very attractive wage, all regular, full-time hourly employees are offered a competitive benefits package, including a dollar-for-dollar match up to 6 percent on their 401(k) and participation in a rewarding incentive program. Likewise, employees at CNB have very meaningful career paths.”

A week before his Aug. 14 inauguration, then Principal Chief-elect Hoskin announced that starting Oct. 1 the tribe’s minimum wage would increase from $9.50 per hour to $11 per hour. All 3,850 government employees, regardless of salary, would receive an increase to their pay in October, the release states.

According to a Cherokee Phoenix story, on Oct. 1, 2014, entry level CN employees saw their wages increase from $9 per hour to $9.50 per hour. The increase came via a Feb. 24, 2014, executive order from then-Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

The story also states that in March 2014, the CNB board of directors answered a challenge by Baker by voting to increase its minimum wage to $9.50 per hour for its businesses. That pay hike went into effect on Oct. 1, 2014.

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