JPMorgan gives low-paid employees a raise

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'The right thing to do'.

JPMorgan Chase plans to raise pay for thousands of lower-tier employees over three years, CEO Jamie Dimon announced Tuesday in a New York Times op-ed piece.

"Our minimum salary for American employees today is $10.15 an hour ... almost $3 above the current national minimum wage," Dimon wrote. "Over the next three years, we will raise the minimum pay for 18,000 workers to $12 to $16.50 an hour, depending on geographic and market factors."

Dimon noted that lower-compensated workers also receive a medical plan — subsidized up to 90 percent by the company — along with dental, vision and other health care coverage. The company also recently raised other benefits, including a 401(k), a pension, a special annual award, paid family leave, paid vacation and bereavement, Dimon said, in the Times op-ed. In total, the annualized value of all of benefits for lower-paid employees averages about $11,000 a year above existing wages.

Dimon called the pay increase "the right thing to do."

"Wages for many Americans have gone nowhere for too long," he wrote in the Times. "Many employees who will receive this increase work as bank tellers and customer service representatives. Above all, it enables more people to begin to share in the rewards of economic growth."

Christine Owens, executive director of the advocacy organization National Employment Law Project, called JPMorgan's move to raise the hourly wages of low-paid workers "good news," but urged the financial industry to do more.

"Indeed, Chase and the banking industry can and should do more. Amalgamated Bank and insurance giants Aetna ($16.00), Allstate , and Nationwide (: ) have all announced larger increases to $15 or more throughout the country; growing numbers of companies are answering the call of the Fight for $15," she said in a statement. "JPMorgan Chase and other leaders in this highly profitable multitrillion-dollar industry should join them and guarantee a minimum wage of at least $15 today.

"It's scandalous that 30 percent of retail banking employees — including three-quarters of the nation's bank tellers, most of whom are women — earn less than $15 per hour, Owens said. "In New York State, where more than half of bank tellers are paid less than $15, two of every five families of bank tellers must rely on some form of public assistance to make ends meet."

Read the full Times opinion piece here.

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