CEO nixes own raise to give workers $1 million

FAN Editor

Among the many, many tales of corporate greed and the vast gaps between what those at the top make compared to those at the bottom, a credit union CEO in Michigan stands out for displaying a different sort of leadership.

All but one the 187 employees of American 1 Credit Union recently received substantial raises, with the bulk of the more than $950,000 in extra pay going to hourly employees.That’s because CEO Martha Fuerstenau took herself out of contention, Laura Pryor, a vice president at the Jackson, Michigan, credit union told

“That was her choice. It wasn’t about her, at all,” Pryor told the local news site. “It was about the whole organization. She said ‘We’re not including me in this conversation.'”

The credit union is growing, and the increased pay — averaging around $5,000 per worker — will help recruit and retain workers, she noted. For those just starting out with little workplace experience, for instance, their hourly pay just jumped 18 percent, to $13 an hour from the $11 the credit union had been paying. 

Or, as Pryor put it: “It’s been a life changer for many employees, the increases — we’re not talking about a quarter an hour, we’re talking about really substantial increases to people’s pay.”

Called by CBS MoneyWatch, Pryor was not immediately available, but the credit union employee who answered the phone confirmed that the woman at the top had relinquished her own raise to have more to give employees.

The credit union runs 13 branches, with most of its employees in Jackson County, Michigan.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

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