Cherokee Nation employees will get pay raise this year
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — Nearly 1,800 Cherokee Nation employees will get a pay raise this year and the minimum wage will increase to $11 for tribal employees, a tribal official said.
Principal Chief-elect Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced the raises to more than 100 employees during a town hall at the W.W. Hastings health facility in Tahlequah on Wednesday.
The tribe’s minimum hourly wage will increase from $9.50 to $11 when Hoskin signs the executive order in October.
“It’s fiscally responsible,” he said. “It keeps us sustainable because we want to be sustainable for the Cherokee people. It’s the right thing to do because you all are on the front lines, delivering the services and programs to our people.”
Hoskin will take office Aug. 14, Tulsa World reported.
Cherokee Nation employs almost 3,850 people. The pay increases apply only to full-time Cherokee Nation government, clinic and hospital employees. The tribe’s business entities, including its 10 casinos, won’t be affected.
Currently, there are 415 government employees whose hourly wage is less than $11. Of those, 99 earn the current minimum wage.
Once the increase takes effect, full-time employees now earning $9.50 per hour will make an additional $3,120 annually. The pay raise also applies to the other 1,382 government employees earning between $11 and less than $15 hourly.
In July, Tribal Council member David Walkingstick attempted to introduce legislation that would have increased employee salaries by up to $3,000 through an increased dividend from the tribe’s businesses. But the tribe’s finances department wasn’t on board.
Funding for the pay raises was accounted for in the proposed 2020 budget, according to the tribe’s communications department. The Tribal Council is scheduled to start budget hearings on Aug. 19.
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com