Guitar Center is planning to replace its much-discussed sales commission system for employees with a system of hourly pay. The shift also includes a commitment that every single Guitar Center employee will earn above minimum wage beginning this September.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) calls the policy shift a major victory for its organizing effort focusing on Guitar Center stores.

GC has a different take, however. On April 25, Christopher Ian Bennett, VP of communications & corporate affairs told MMR, “We’ve announced some really exciting changes to our store compensation model and the response across the country, from associates everywhere has been incredibly positive. I think it’s fitting that as we enter into our 50th year as a n MI brand we’ve been unafraid to listen to what our associates have had to say about making Guitar Center a top employer, and to make some bold changes to support them and move us forward.

“We’re not focused on what the Unions are doing, or not doing. Truly. Our singular focus has always been to connect directly with our associates.  We feel that the results are speaking for themselves. The truth that needs to be acknowledged is that more than half of the RWDSU’s efforts to unionize our stores have failed. Last week, we saw that happen again in Knoxville, Tenn. when an overwhelming number of associates voted against unionization.”

For its part, the RWDSU is swayed by neither the new payment structure nor Guitar Center's new ownership. “We expect the organizing efforts to continue," says Janna Pea, a spokesperson for RWDSU, "as workers continue to reach out to us on a regular basis.”

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