Green Job Creation: Full Staff on Salary at Planting Justice! by Tomas Moreno
In our continued efforts to provide meaningful and sustainable green jobs that aim to better our local community, Planting Justice is proud to announce the movement of our full staff to salaried positions. And that all of our staff in our re-entry green jobs program are now in full-time, salaried positions within the organization. Now, there are many reasons for this change but I want to highlight two of them here:
To be completely frank: much of the work Planting Justice does, and especially the work of our employees in transition, is seasonal. Planting gardens, doing garden maintenance, and our other work in yards (greywater systems and aquaponics for example) simply doesn’t have much of a market in the winter. As such, we’ve seen in previous years that there simply isn’t enough work in the winter, effectively making these jobs seasonal.
In our new model, we’re able to transition people into other areas of the organization utilizing and developing their other skills so there is always work to do. While this doesn’t eliminate the scarcity issue, it affords us a hitherto underutilized workforce by creating avenues of work for everybody within the entirety of the organization instead of simply in one aspect.
Again, to be frank: the move to salary makes Planting Justice, and our jobs more sustainable for everybody. Before our switch to salary pay, the jobs we offered to people in transition were living-wage, part-time jobs with pay starting at $17.50 an hour. This is, and was, absolutely great! In fact, this approach is what drew me to the organization in the first place. And yet, it ultimately is lacking.
It’s hard for me to view hourly pay as “sustainable” especially given the issue of scarcity discussed above. One month you may have a bounty of work and thus money while the next may bring a dearth of the same. It’s hard to budget and live sustainably if you’re worried about how much money the next month will bring.
Luckily, with our move to salaried positions our employees don’t have to worry about this. I’m sure this is a belief that is shared by many of you; but, I cannot stress enough the relief it is to know what I should expect from each check. And I am so happy that we are now able to offer such a luxury to our full staff. Beyond this, we are able to increase the job skills that our employees have and are developing by working together on projects outside of the garden. This includes work in community organizing and fundraising, educational work with youth, and some great projects that are still in development that you’ll hear about soon.
Ultimately, I cannot celebrate this enough personally, and I hope you will join me. This shift in our green jobs program truly shows a commitment to sustainability and re-entry jobs that, I believe, is revolutionary.