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Local manufacturer to pay minimum $15 per hour

A local manufacturer has committed to a $15 per hour wage program for its full-time employees beginning on Labor Day.

Pioneer Millworks is a reclaimed and sustainable wood manufacturer with locations in Farmington, Ontario County, and McMinnville, Ore. The current minimum wage for its local facility is $9.70 per hour, while the minimum wage at its Oregon location is $10.25 per hour.

“Raising the starting wage to a living wage for our coworkers is just a smart thing to do,” Pioneer founder and President Jonathan Orpin said in a statement. “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.”

Giving staffers the tools, including wages and benefits, to invest in their families and in their neighborhoods will pay the company back in the long game, Orpin said.

“It’s the same thinking as investing in a $100,000 piece of equipment that we believe will pay us a return on investment in the years to come,” he added.

Company officials estimate 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 roughly 2 percent of gross revenue to make the change that affects a portion of its 70 employees.

“It’s the right thing to do for our community, our coworkers and the culture of America now more than ever,” said Pioneer general manager Jennifer Young. “We already pay 50 to 80 percent of our people’s health care costs. We share our profits in years of abundance. We support our employees purchasing energy-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles.”

As a company, Young added, Pioneer can enact change from the bottom up, not just with the dollars it spends, but with the policies and culture it creates.

Pioneer has rescued nearly 27 million board feet of old wood from rot and landfills, giving it new life as flooring, paneling, millwork and cabinetry.

“We’re excited to join the growing number of businesses that have committed to this wage increase and we hope others will do the same — it’s time,” Orpin said.

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email madams@bridgetowermedia.com.

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