Millwork Company Says It’s Raising Wages to $15 an Hour

September 1st, 2017 by Editor

Pioneer Millworks says it will initiate a $15-an-hour wage program for full-time employees at its facilities in Farmington, N.Y., and McMinnville, Ore. The pay increases begin on Labor Day.

In New York, the minimum wage is currently is $9.70 an hour, and in Oregon it’s $10.25 an hour. Pioneer’s wage hikes come four years ahead of New York’s statewide mandate to raise the minimum wage, and five years ahead of a similar mandate in Oregon.

“Raising the starting wage to a living wage for our coworkers is just a smart thing to do,” says Jonathan Orpin, founder and president of Pioneer Millworks. “We’re looking at this as a capital investment, the ROI balances the financial investment in our people with better retention and attracting a strong talent pool.”

Pioneer Millworks estimates that the program costs will be offset by higher quality employees, better retention and more efficient work on the jobsite. It will cost the company approximately 2 percent of gross revenue to make a change that will affect a portion of its 70 employees. The company says it’s currently the only one in the reclaimed and sustainable wood industry that has publicly committed to supporting its employees with a $15-per-hour wage program regardless of state law.

“It’s the right thing to do for our community, our coworkers, and the culture of America now more than ever,” says Jennifer Young, general manager of Pioneer Millworks. “We already pay 50 percent to 80 percent of our people’s healthcare costs. We share our profits in years of abundance. We support our employees purchasing energy-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles. As a small business, we can enact change from the bottom-up, not just with the dollars we spend, but with the policies and culture we create.”

Pioneer Millworks specializes in reclaimed wood. The company says it’s rescued nearly 27 million board feet of old wood from rot and landfills, reusing it as millwork, flooring, paneling, cabinetry and more. It’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and Green America.

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