Volkswagen Chattanooga raises minimum wage to $16

Volkswagen Chattanooga facility (Image via NewsChannel 9 SkyCam)

UPDATE (Wednesday afternoon):

Today, the CEO and President of Volkswagen Chattanooga announced production workers are getting a 50-cent increase at every level, raising the minimum wage to $16.

CEO Antonio Pinto says there's now an opportunity to make more money if employees choose to make Volkswagen a long-term career option.

"We want to motivate people in our workforce because we are very proud of them," says Pinto.

Pinto says that the bidding process for the electric car plant will start in the next several months.

"I hope that Chattanooga companies can have a part of it because that is why we are here," says Pinto.

The CEO says the new plant will be make this property even bigger, adding more than $800 million in investments and opening up more than 1,000 thousand jobs.

When compared to national statistics for manufacturing jobs in durable goods like cars, Volkswagen is now at that national average.

One full-time UTC student says it's still somewhere would love to work.

"Considering that minimum wage is at $7.25 to $8 right now, a lot of students, especially college students, are looking for that," says Booklyn Hodges.

She says it would not only be great for her, but people she knows that are also in school.

"We're freshmen, we're not really looking for anything super major right now. We're kind of just trying to get our foot in the door," she says.

One man says he's about to leave for the Air Force in a couple months, but would love to consider working at Volkswagen.

"There's just lots of opportunity for people to start living on their own," says Victor Bednarski.

One of the things that he says would reel him into the company - "With everybody working as a team there's tons of people that work there."

The president says anyone and everyone is welcome.

"Everyone who wants to develop himself, who wants to develop their country - the Tennessee, Chattanooga... they are welcome," says Pinto.

There are currently no jobs open at Volkswagen apart from several internships.

A spokesperson says they expect to have new jobs posted later this year with that new pay offered as part of the package.

The new pay announcement does not apply to Volkswagen's temporary workforce.

PREVIOUSLY:

Volkswagen says it plans to raise its minimum wage to $16 for every worker at its Chattanooga plant.

An email sent by VW-Chattanooga to NewsChannel 9 says the company made the announcement about a $0.50 wage increase for all Volkswagen production team members.

New hires will start at $16, with a top-out of $23.50. The pay increase will go into effect on July 1st.

“We are dedicated to building quality careers in Chattanooga and want to be on the forefront of compensation and benefits in our region,” said Antonio Pinto, Volkswagen Chattanooga president and CEO. “This increase is a reinforcement of our team’s efforts and, we hope, helpful in recruiting new team members as we continue to grow here in Tennessee.”

Volkdwagen says production wage progression will increase $0.50 per hour at every level. After six months of employment with Volkswagen Chattanooga, team members are eligible for $17 an hour. After two years, they are eligible to be paid $19.70 an hour.

Volkswagen Chattanooga team members will continue to receive benefits, including:

  • Comprehensive healthcare including medical, dental and vision coverage
  • New parent leave, both maternal and paternal
  • 401k matching
  • Employee and family vehicle lease program
  • Tuition reimbursement

Volkswagen says in January this year, an independent third-party audit resulted in certification of Volkswagen Chattanooga as a Top Employer for 2019. Volkswagen says VW-Chattanooga is one of 23 US employers to receive this acknowledgement from the Top Employers Institute, a global independent Human Resources certification company.

Back in January, Volkswagen announced it would expand its Chattanooga plant to develop a new electric vehicle line. The expansion translates to a $800 million investment, and VW-Chattanooga says it will create about 1,000 jobs.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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