Cherokee Nation Announces Wage Increase for Tribal and Business Employees

Cherokee Nation Businesses HQ

TAHLEQUAH, OK – Cherokee Nation and its business arm have announced plans to increase starting wages for most hourly employees working within the tribe and its businesses.

Last year, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner announced the launch of a comprehensive study of workforce pay with the target of a gradual minimum wage increase to $15 per hour by 2025. This announcement marks the first increase toward that goal. 

“Our tribal and business employees continually demonstrate a remarkable passion for their work and an unwavering dedication to serving the needs of our tribe and its citizens,” said Chief Hoskin. “It is absolutely vital that we provide them with a wage and benefits package that enables them to enjoy a good, productive quality of life while supporting their families and communities throughout northeast Oklahoma.”

The wage increase will raise the tribe’s minimum wage to $12 an hour and expand the income of all eligible hourly employees. The increase will begin at the start of the new fiscal year and will be reflected on pay periods effective on or after Oct. 1. 

“Our remarkable employees are the keys to our longstanding success,” said Chuck Garrett, Chief Executive Officer for Cherokee Nation Businesses (CNB). “It is an absolute honor to see them benefit from all the work they have put in to serving Cherokee Nation citizens, helping grow our tribe’s economy and placing our businesses at the forefront of the industries we operate within.”

Cherokee Nation was named Forbes Top 10 Best In-State Employer of 2022. The tribe and its business arm, which employ more than 11,000 people, offer attractive benefit packages, diverse career options and competitive wages. Cherokee Nation and CNB previously increased entry-level wages in 2019 when Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Warner announced wage increases for tribal employees and called on the tribe’s businesses to evaluate and increase their starting wages as well. 

Under Chief Hoskin’s 2021 “Executive Order on Raising Employee Compensation,” the tribe’s Human Resources and Finance Department consulted with outside labor experts to conduct a full analysis of the pay and benefits for the tribe’s governmental workforce, specifically focusing on ensuring employee pay is transparent, equitable and competitive. The study, as requested by Chief Hoskin in response to tribal employee feedback, has also proven to be a useful tool for CNB in support of its business endeavors and staff.