Great Basin Community Food Co-op raises base wage to $15

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It's not your typical market. And you can say that Great Basin Community Food Co-op is no longer paying typical wages.

"We just increased our base wage for every employee at the co-op up to $15 an hour," says Andrew Yokom, Human Resources Coordinator for Great Basin Community Food Co-op.

The wage increase is significant for the employees who had been making $11 an hour -- and it's more than double the $7.25 federal minimum wage and what Nevada's starts at. The new wage at Great Basin Community Food Co-op took effect New Year's Day.

Yokom says this is a big deal for the co-op, which put a plan in place a year ago to make this happen. That involved setting new priorities, raising its standards for staff and lowering certain things like inventory.

"It's just running a tighter business," says Yokom.

Yokom says the co-op is doing this for its 30 employees -- to give them a more liveable wage and a stable workplace where they will want to stay. It's also hoping to start a trend among other businesses.

"We'd love to see everybody get on board with this," says Yokom. "It's a national conversation and we're hoping to push that conversation along here in Reno."

Great Basin Community Food Co-op says customers should not expect to see higher prices to offset the wages. However, customers are taking notice of the statement it's making.

"It makes me proud to see an organization like this in Reno and I think that's what excites me most about seeing this jump to $15 an hour is hopefully more organizations follow suit," says Garrett Menghini, a customer.