The Wonderful Co. has increased its minimum wage to $15 per hour for its full-time employees in California. As the largest wage increase in the company’s history, the move signifies a 36% pay raise for those who were previously earning the current state-mandated minimum wage of $11 per hour.
“This substantial investment in our workers will have an immediate and meaningful impact on their lives,” Lynda Resnick, vice chair and co-owner of The Wonderful Co., said in a statement. “In addition to providing our Central Valley employees and their families free healthcare and education, we are now able to help them achieve a significantly improved standard of living.”
The increase took effect on Jan. 1—three years ahead of California’s requirement for large employers to meet a $15-per-hour minimum wage—and represents an $80 million investment benefiting workers across its brands, including Wonderful Citrus, Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds, Wonderful Orchards, Wonderful Nurseries, Pom Wonderful, Justin Wines and Landmark Wines.
The Wonderful Co., based in Los Angeles, has nearly 4,500 full-time employees in California, nearly half of which will benefit from the wage increase, according to the company.
“Our dedicated and hard-working employees are our greatest asset, and the reason for our tremendous success as a company,” Stewart Resnick, chairman and president of The Wonderful Co., said in a statement. “This move firmly positions The Wonderful Co. as the employer of choice in California’s Central Valley, and we encourage others in the agriculture industry to follow our lead.”
California is one of 19 states that are phasing in minimum wage increases to ultimately reach $12 to $15 per hour. For employers with 26 or more full-time employees, the state-mandated minimum wage reached $12 per hour beginning Jan. 1, with increases of $1 per hour scheduled over the next three years.
A privately held $4 billion company, The Wonderful Co. touts a long-standing commitment to corporate social responsibility, including an investment of $100 million toward the construction of two charter school campuses in California’s Central Valley, as well as health and wellness programs such as two new and free primary care clinics for employees and their dependents.