Wells Fargo worker asks CEO for raise via email, CC’s hundreds of thousands

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A Wells Fargo worker decided to ask his CEO for a raise and wanted everyone at the company to know about it.

So he emailed the CEO and CC’d hundreds of thousands of his co-workers.

Now, the whole world knows about it.

The employee, Tyrel Oates, asked Wells Fargo chief John Stumpf to take a stance on income inequality by offering all 300,000 employees a $10,000 raise.

Oates estimates that an across-the-board pay raise would cost the bank $3 billion, “just a small fraction of what Wells Fargo pulls in annually.” In the email, a copy of which was obtained by CNNMoney, he pointed out that in the second quarter alone the bank had earned $5.7 billion.

Oates did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But he told The Charlotte Observer that he’s not worried about his job.

By boosting workers’ pay, Oates said Wells Fargo will “help to make its people, its family, more happy, productive, and financially stable.”

Oates urged Stumpf to consider the “positive publicity” the bank would enjoy by giving workers a raise “in a time of extreme consumer skepticism towards banks.”

The bank also has an opportunity to set an example for other big corporations by making its workers’ a priority. Wells Fargo could “show the rest of the United States, if not the world, that, yes, big corporations can have a heart other than philanthropic endeavors.”

Oates also notes that Stumpf, who routinely ranks as one of the highest paid bank CEOs in America, personally took in over $19 million last year, “more than most of the employees will see in a life time.”

The email came with the subject line “income inequality” was marked “high” importance. The list of recipients was 15 pages long and included individual Wells Fargo employees and distribution groups. The Observer estimates that 200,000 employees were copied.

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman said the bank offers its employees “market competitive compensation” that includes base pay, benefits and other “career-development opportunities.” The bank added that the pay it offers “significantly exceed” federal minimums.

Oates acknowledges that Wells Fargo offers pretty good benefits like 401(K).

He also acknowledges that he works at a bank that is extremely profitable. However, Oates points out the profits are not evenly shared among employees and that with the exception of upper management, the majority of workers barely make enough to live comfortably on their own income.

He ends his email with a clarion call to his co-workers: “It is time that we ask, no, it is time that we demand to be rightfully compensated for the hard work that we accomplish … And while the voice of one person in a world as large as ours may seem only like a whisper, the combined voices of each and all of us can move mountains!”

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9 comments

  • Lynn J Timmins

    If more people were like Tyrel and did the right thing about co-workers and his company this country would not be in the state it would be. It took courage, bravery, and integrity for what he did. We still have hero’s in this country that are trying to still save it from self destruction. Knowing Wells Fargo hopefully as the leaders of the country and doing what is always right for the company and this country that has kept them front as leaders they will realize they are front runners by having the best employees who are making the money for them and keeping the customers happy, otherwise there would not be great bonuses for the CEO’s at the end of the year which in my mind should always be distributed to all that created the surplus of the wealth of the company. The workers always are the ones that make or break a company and any smart CEO knows that, or learns it very quickly. John Stumpf did not get where he was from not being a smart CEO and I will lay my money that he will do the right thing and even do better. Someone like Tyrel just had to put the suggestion in since John Stump hires him to have these thoughts to progress the company. I can see all is well with Wells Fargo and things are running as it should with Tyrel and John there watching over it and the employees continuing doing their jobs and hopefully with a great big incentive behind them for a wonderful job.

  • Heather M

    beautiful, he is right, it would devide the bank from boa and chase and make wells fargo stand out amongst the others. Now all we need to do is take a stance and not buy Microsoft products since their CEO is anti worker

    • Geoff

      Agreed, however I don’t think the expectation was to come off as being professional. During the 60s, a period of great economic health and prosperity for the middle class, executive compensation relative to employee compensation was 20 – 1. In 2ooo that number peaked at 383.4 – 1 and in 2013 was 295.9 – 1 (the most probable reason for the decline, in my opinon, being lost earnings in the form of stock options. These numbers come from the Economic Policy Institute. The point I am making to your lack of professionalism comment is that following the prescribed procedure isn’t going to get any results. I can poke all sorts of holes in his proposal, but the proposal itself is far less important that the idea of income equality. I certainly believe that executives due to be compensated at a rate higher than the average employee, but there is also a tipping point (much like price volatility) where the average worker will become disenfranchise and less productive. Manipulations of depreciation accounts and reserves to hit projections that are unsustainable, but lead to big executive bonuses are common practice and well documented and when those start to fail the pressure is felt from the bottom up. When the bubble finally burst, the average employee loses their house, but the average executive gets a recommendation letter and severance, which gives them license to go screw up another company. Before the detractors start to fire off, let me also state that I am against raising the minimum wage and often vote conservative. I do believe that a person can improve their situation through hard work and determination. However if the average citizen thinks that any real change in the inequities above will come without significant pressure from the masses, they are living in a dream. This was a bold “We’re putting you on notice” action and I applaud it.

    • Sonsi

      Really? That’s why you make less than everyone else at your company. You are probably the lowest paid in your pay grade. They make you feel it is disloyal to ask for a raise. I admire this audacity and the underlying truth of his email.

  • Friday

    Read the book ‘Capital’. It’ll make the common working man see they are nothing more than ‘sheople’ to the 1 percenters. I hope tyrel and everyone else get their raise.

  • Sherman Saxon

    Mr. Oate’s letter is brilliant and gut-honest. If people don’t stand up for themselves, no one else will. About 15 years ago, I was in a middle management position at Wells Fargo Commercial Lending in Chicago. My annual evaluations were good, but my annual pay increase never exceeded 1.8%. Ditto for my co-workers. Regardless of whether Mr. Oates loses his job, at least he was true to himself. I applaud him.

  • Fishman

    Why does everybody think they are worth more? Everyone can get a 10K or 20K raise. Why, You will still be broke if you dont know hot to manage your money….

  • James

    You’ve got to be kidding me…most of them don’t make enough money to ‘live comfortably’? A year ago I made less than $800 a month (less than $15k a year). About 60% of my income went directly to rent, I had no health insurance, and I barely had anything left to spend. I didn’t even have a mattress, I slept on the floor in my apartment. I highly doubt of their employees are anywhere near having that low of a level of income.

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