Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced Wednesday that he is calling upon the Cherokee Nation Businesses board of directors to follow the tribe's lead and implement a wage increase for employees working for the business arm of the tribe.
Cherokee Nation Businesses employs more than 7,560 people and is the board-governed holding company for the tribe's for-profit businesses.
CNB pays a direct dividend of 37 percent of its profits to the Cherokee Nation 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 new health care facilities construction.
"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 said. "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."
Last week, Hoskin announced that starting Oct. 1 Cherokee Nation's minimum wage will increase from $9.50 per hour to $11 per hour. All 3,850 government employees, regardless of salary, will receive an increase to their pay in October.
"Raising the entry level wage to at least $11 an hour further enhances our ability to attract and retain great talent at CNB," said Chuck Garrett, executive vice president at Cherokee Nation Businesses.
"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."
Chief Hoskin anticipates CNB to review its budget and develop a fair and sustainable pay increase plan.