It’s a move that many employees frustrated about their pay probably have dreamed about doing but wouldn’t dare attempt – send a complaint letter to the CEO and copy thousands of co-workers on the email.
One brazen Wells Fargo employee in Oregon did exactly that this week.
In his letter, 30-year-old Tyrel Oates tells CEO John Stumpf that Wells Fargo can be a leader in reducing income inequality in the U.S. by distributing more profits to employees.
The letter has been making the rounds at Wells Fargo, including among the company’s workers in the Charlotte region, where the San Francisco-based lender employs about 22,100.
Oates proposed that Wells Fargo give each of its roughly 263,500 employees a $10,000 raise. That, he wrote, would “show the rest of the United States, if not the world, that, yes, big corporations can have a heart other than philanthropic endeavors.”
In an interview Tuesday, Oates said he emailed the letter to Stumpf and about 200,000 Wells Fargo employees. He said he has no regrets and that he has received many thank-yous from co-workers who told him they shared his views.
And, at least as of Tuesday afternoon, he said he’s still employed by the company, where he processes requests from Wells Fargo customers seeking to stop debt-collection calls.
“I’m not worried about losing my job over this,” Oates said.
Wells Fargo spokeswoman Richele Messick said in an email that Wells Fargo provides “market competitive” compensation that combines base pay with benefits and career-development opportunities.
Oates said he has been working for Wells Fargo for nearly seven years and makes just more than $15 an hour as a full-time employee working 40 hours a week, five days a week, not counting mandatory overtime. When he started with the company, he was making about $13 an hour, he said.
Oates’ letter comes at a time when income inequality has become a hotly debated topic in the U.S.
“Just knowing the unease of my fellow team members as far as pay goes and how horrible our pay increases have been over the seven years … I just decided to send a letter to John Stumpf,” he said.
Stumpf made $19.3 million in total compensation last year. That’s more than the $14 million Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan earned but less than the $20 million paid to JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon.
Oates said his manager has told him he’s not in trouble. He said Stumpf has not yet responded.