Most people ask for a raise in the privacy of their boss’s office. But one gutsy Wells Fargo employee emailed the CEO directly — and copied some 200,000 other Wells Fargo workers on the note. On Tuesday, the Charlotte Observer reported that Tyrel Oates, who it says works in an Oregon office of Wells Fargo processing requests from customers trying to stop debt-collection calls, sent such an email to CEO John Stumpf. His plea was not just to get a raise for himself. His proposal to Stumpf? Use the company’s profits to give every employee a raise of $10,000. According to the Observer, Oates said the move would “show the rest of the United States, if not the world, that yes, big corporations can have a heart other than philanthropic endeavors.”
An apparent copy of Oates’ letter, with his name removed, has been posted on Reddit and includes that language. The letter cites Wells Fargo’s second quarter profits, and reads: “why not take some of this and distribute it to the rest of the employees.” It encourages Stumpf to “think, as well, of the positive publicity in a time of extreme consumer skepticism towards banks” that a company-wide raise would bring. It closes with an appeal to coworkers: “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 for the great part we all have played in the success of this company.” Oates also goes on to reveal that the email has been sent to “hundreds of thousands Wells Fargo employees, (as many as I could cc from the outlook global address book).”
A Facebook profile for a Tyrel Oates living in Portland, Ore., posted a link to the Observer’s story, saying, “Since this is out, thought I’d share.” A message to that Facebook profile was not immediately returned. A Wells Fargo spokeswoman said the company does not discuss personnel matters. In an e-mailed statement, she said the company provides “market competitive compensation that combines base pay with a broad array of benefits and career-development opportunities.”
It also said the company has an annual performance and salary review and that compensation exceeds federal and state minimums In 2013, Stumpf’s total compensation was $19.3 million. That compares to total pay of $14 million for Brian Moynihan at Bank of America, $14.5 million for Michael Corbat at Citigroup and $20 million for Jamie Dimonat Citigroup Oates told the Observer that he had been with Wells Fargo for nearly seven years, works full time, and makes a little more than $15 an hour. He said he has received thank-you notes from coworkers, and that he remained employed as of Tuesday afternoon. “I’m not worried about losing my job over this,” he told the paper.