As millions have shifted to working and learning remotely, Charter’s employees have been working to ensure our customers stay connected during this crisis. We are proud to say that through their hard work, our networks have remained strong, even with a surge in usage. Our employees are our greatest resource and we’re doing everything we can to protect them.
This commitment to our employees is why, in an email today to our team, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge announced a further investment in our workforce by permanently raising our minimum wage for all employees to $20 per hour. The initial increase will be implemented immediately for frontline field technicians and customer service call center employees who are the face of our company to our nearly 30 million customers and who are providing critical services to our communities, emergency relief workers, and government entities. Those frontline hourly workers – regardless of current wage – will receive an immediate $1.50 per hour increase and subsequent increases so that in 2022 all current and future hourly employees will have a starting rate of $20 an hour or more.
As Tom said in his email this morning, “Because of the important work we do, there will continue to be crises we will face, including hurricanes, floods, tornados, fires, and ice storms for as long as we are in business. We keep people connected no matter what. It’s the obligation we have to the communities we serve.”
Charter has been working around the clock supporting our employees and customers during the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. This has included offering Spectrum Internet up to 100 Mbps for free, including in-home Wi-Fi, to new subscriber households with teachers or K-12 or college students for 60 days, not terminating service for residential or small business customers who face difficult economic circumstances due to COVID, and opening our Wi-Fi hotspots across our footprint for public use. In addition, we have already worked with hospitals, schools, and governments to help them meet the challenges they are facing. Charter has provided all employees an additional three weeks flexible paid time to be used for any reason related to COVID-19. And, as always, our 24/7 local news channels are providing critical coverage and information to our communities.
Our $20 minimum wage continues our commitment to our employees and our customers. After three companies came together to form Charter Spectrum, we started building for the long term. We invested over $30 billion in training, tools, trucks, test equipment, new call centers, network upgrades, buildings, labs, product development, set top boxes, Wi-Fi routers, modems, and news channels. We know our workforce is key to our long-term success. It’s why we brought work back from overseas, reduced our reliance on contractors, hired locally, and increased our minimum wage to $15 per hour. We offer robust benefits, retirement security, and opportunities for advancement, because Charter is a company where our workers don’t just do their jobs, they build careers. And when the lives of our employees are improved, they in turn improve the lives of the customers they serve.
With our customers facing uncertain times, we are working hard to ensure we are rising to the challenge. We are proud to be a company that values our employees, our customers, and the communities we serve.